June 19, 2013 by Julia
Folks are up in arms because pro-amnesty protesters protested at the home of the anti-amnesty Kansas Secretary of State:
Over the weekend, a mob of maybe 100 pro-amnesty protesters swarmed around the home of Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, a prominent immigration hawk, chanting “Si, se puede.” Kobach, his wife, and their four girls happened to be out of town, but you can see from the video that people are crowded on his front porch and steps, his driveway, and front lawn.
This situation was apparently absolutely horrifying to my fellow travelers on the right. Mark Krikorian writes in the National Review, linked above:
. . . but the real issue is that political protests should never target a public official’s home or family. It is naked intimidation and has no place in a democracy. This is true regardless of the positions taken by the official or the protesters.
Well, you know how I feel about incorporation, so as far as I’m concerned (and the Supreme Court disagrees with me on this, I know), the First Amendment does not apply here, because Congress is not involved. However, let’s look at paragraph 3 of the Kansas Bill of Rights:
3. Right of peaceable assembly; petition. The people have the right to assemble, in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, for the redress of grievances.
Hmmm. You don’t say . . .
Now listen, there are some rules here. Trespassing on private property and vandalism are, and should be, illegal. Tromping around someone’s yard and damaging things is not protected by the above language. As for protesting the family of a government official, while I find it rather pointless, that would be protected by a combination of paragraphs 3 and 11 of the Kansas Bill of Rights.
The point is, I don’t see any problem with protesting peacefully on public land near the home of a government official, so I take exception with the suggestion that “political protests should never target a public official’s home or family.” What should never happen is trespassing on private land, vandalism, and/or violence (so these protesters were not, in fact, in compliance, because they trespassed). But if citizens want to petition their government officials at home instead of in the capitol? Go for it.