Gary Wright II - ]  [ Activism ]  → Wright v. Marshall County

Wright v. Marshall County Alabama, et al.

Civil Case #4:22-cv-615

Gary Wright II is the Plaintiff in Wright v. Marshall County Alabama, et al challenging the constitutionality of a county anti-protest Picketing Resolution.

On May 11th, 2022, Mr. Wright addressed the Marshall County, Alabama Commission on the unconstitutionality of the county picketing resolution. You can watch the speech or read the not-quite-verbatim text of the speech.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If the Article I branch of federal government (Congress) was denied the authority to pass restrictive laws, then state, county, or local governments certainly aren't allowed to infringe these rights.

The Marshall County Alabama Picketing Resolution violates three clauses of the First Amendment:

  1. Right to Free Speech
  2. Right to Peaceably Assemble
  3. Right to Redress Grievances

We asked Bard (Google's artificial intelligence) to defend the right to protest at courthouses under the First Amendment and it wrote:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and assembly. This means that people have the right to express their views, even if those views are unpopular, and to gather together to protest against injustice.

One of the most important places where people exercise their right to protest is at courthouses. Courthouses are the places where laws are made and enforced, and they are therefore important symbols of the rule of law. By protesting at courthouses, people can make their voices heard and hold those in power accountable.

There are a number of reasons why the right to protest at courthouses is important. First, it helps to ensure that the justice system is fair and impartial. When people are able to protest at courthouses, they can make sure that their voices are heard and that their concerns are taken into account. Second, the right to protest at courthouses helps to promote civic engagement. When people are able to participate in the political process, they are more likely to feel like they have a stake in their community and that their voices matter. Third, the right to protest at courthouses helps to protect democracy. When people are able to express their views and to challenge the government, it helps to prevent tyranny and to ensure that the government is responsive to the needs of the people.

Of course, there are some limits to the right to protest at courthouses. For example, protests cannot be disruptive or violent. However, as long as protests are peaceful, they should be allowed to take place at courthouses.

The right to protest at courthouses is an important part of a free and democratic society. It is a right that should be cherished and protected.

On Wednesday, July 26th, 2023, the commission expanded the December 2020 Picketing Resolution to include all county properties not designated as public forums with a new 2023 Picketing Resolution.

I was confused why a second resolution was passed and it was weird it specifically listed the animal shelter. We already knew the first resolution was targeting political speech, but the second resolution made it clear they were silencing a group protesting the animal shelter:
Marshall County's euthanasia policy calls for protest - WAFF
Puppy dog protest - Sand Mountain Reporter
Protestors speak out against Marshall County animal euthanization policy - WHNT

Media Coverage

Commission passes resolution requiring permits to protest at Marshall County courthouses - Sand Mountain The Reporter
ACLU questions new protest rules in Marshall County - Sand Mountain The Reporter
Marshall County faces lawsuit over picketing resolution - Sand Mountain The Reporter

Key Documents

Court Docket

You can view the court docket and case files.

Similar Cases

Florence, Alabama has used similar tactics to stop protests, so another lawsuit to watch is Project Say Something v. Tyler.

Last updated: Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

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