Does a judge truly have the ability to ban an individual from an entire city? Especially when that city is the nation's capitol?
WASHINGTON - A California man has been banned from D.C. after climbing a 40-foot tree on Inauguration Day and yelling his way through the ceremony.
Police say anti-abortion activist Rives Miller Grogan stayed in a thin tree near the Capitol for hours during Monday's swearing-in, The Washington Post reports.
A D.C. Superior Court judge banned him from the city Tuesday. He is allowed to
return only for his second hearing Feb. 25.
Grogan can be arrested on sight if he is discovered inside D.C. limits, Capitol police say.
Let's consider this one.
Under this court order, Grogan is forbidden to establish his legal domicile in the District of Columbia.
What's more, his right to travel to or through the District of Columbia is eliminated by this order.
It also puts a profound obstacle in his ability to petition the government for a redress of grievances by preventing him from going to the seat of the national government.
Each of these would seem to me to be judicial overreach, given that each and every offense that Grogan has been charged with in this case -- and in previous cases -- involves speech that could be legitimately seen as political protest and that they are essentially non-violent offenses.
Is there any precedent for such expansive limits being placed upon a citizen? What have higher courts previously ruled on such matters.
And if there is a judicial power to exile someone from a city, does it extend to ordering someone out of an entire state?
I also have had another line of questioning enter my mind with regards to this exile order -- if the power to exile someone is in the hands of the judiciary, do legislative bodies have such a power? Might a city council -- or a state legislature -- pass an exile statute directed at an individual or group? What are the limits on such power, especially if the reason for the statute is, as in this case, annoying political speech?
Enquiring minds want to know.