FEF Files Amicus Brief In Fourth Circuit RAM Case
On October 8, 2019, FEF filed an amicus brief in the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Rise Above Movement defendants who had been prosecuted under the Anti-Riot Act for their participation in the Charlottesville, Virginia, Unite the Right Rally. At the trial court, the defendants, under intense pressure and in difficult prison conditions, had agreed to plead guilty while reserving their right to challenge the constitutionality of the Anti-Riot Act. The trial court subsequently rejected this constitutional challenge and the defendants appealed to the Fourth Circuit. In FEF’s brief supporting the defendants’ appeal, FEF argued that the Anti-Riot Act is constitutionally overbroad, is subject to strict scrutiny (the highest level) of constitutional review, and violates the Hecklers’ Veto doctrine. It further argued that the trial court committed several errors, including overlooking fifty years of First Amendment decisions that had been issued by the Supreme Court since the Anti-Riot Act was enacted in 1968.