Article I, Section 27 of the Texas Constitution ("Right of Assembly; Petition for Redress of Grievances")

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Adopted February 15, 1876:

The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

Editor Comments

Note that the First Amendment to the federal constitution reads in part: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Graham v. Texas Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, 913 S.W.2d 745, 752 n.10 (Tex.App.–Austin 1996, w.o.j.) (citations omitted) ("Graham's right of remonstrance guarantees meaningful review of his petition . . . . A government body considers a remonstrance if it stops, looks, and listens to a grievance. However, the right to have the Board consider his petition does not entitle Graham to any specific due process: '[there is] no requirement that those trusted with the powers of government must negotiate or even respond to complaints filed by those being governed.' We hold that the right of remonstrance does not entitle Graham to a hearing before the Board on his petition for clemency.")

Historic Decisions

  • Professional Ass'n of College Educators v. El Paso County Community Dist., 678 S.W.2d 94, 95 (Tex.App.–El Paso 1984, n.r.e.) ("For the first time since the adoption of the Texas Constitution of 1876, citizens of this state seek judicial enforcement of their right to apply to those invested with the powers of government by 'remonstrance.' Having concluded that the granting of summary judgment in this case denied the exercise of that seldom used, but nevertheless valuable, constitutional right, we reverse and remand. Article I, sec. 27 of the Texas Constitution provides . . . . There is no Texas case discussing a citizen's right to seek redress from the government by remonstrance.")
  • Bell v. Hill, 74 S.W.2d 113, 121 (Tex. 1934) ("It is idle to say that all political power is inherent in the people, and that all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit, and that they have the right . . . . If the citizens have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble for their common good, as is declared in section 27 of the Bill of Rights, then it necessarily follows that the legislative act, which provides that only those citizens who meet the approval of some committee authorized or created by the Legislature may assemble, is an attempted legislative limitation on the broad language of the Bill of Rights, and as such is unconstitutional and void.")
  • Koehler v. Dubose, 200 S.W. 238, 243 (Tex.Civ.App.–San Antonio 1918, ref'd) ("The right of petition, guarded and protected by the Constitution, was not given to protect citizens who might attack the character or malign the acts of the individual citizen, although addressed to an officer of the state, but in every instance in which the right of petition has been sustained it has been when the object was to obtain some redress as to governmental acts or the exercise of some governmental agency general in its character. The right was not given to shield attacks upon private reputations or assaults upon private characters. . . . The Constitution seeks to secure liberty and not licentiousness.")

Library Resources

Online Resources