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How Did Demonstrators Reach the Supreme Court Steps?

Demonstrations are not allowed on the Supreme Court’s spacious front plaza. Yet how did hundreds of individuals protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown gain access to the plaza the night that decision was announced – and make it up the court steps?

No one knows exactly. It’s unclear if the Supreme Court Police turned the other way, and the protesters only stayed for about 15 minutes, but it’s undeniable they were there, according to news coverage and social media posts from that night.

Not surprisingly, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the only justices to go on record about the Ferguson protests, telling the National Law Journal‘s Marcia Coyle that the unrest in Ferguson points to a “real racial problem” in the country that recent Supreme Court decisions have done little to help.

Decisions aside, something that would help the court’s image would be for it to open its front plaza to all demonstrators, not just ones caught up in the spirit of the moment on a November night.

Fix the Court believes that the justices, in the interest of being consistent with the First Amendment, should not prevent the public from congregating on the spacious plaza in front of the building – and they can allow such demonstrations without compromising their safety.

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