User Fees for Constitutional Rights

I’m drafting a paper that looks at situations where the government charges people a fee for exercising their rights (when they are able to pay).  Here are the the examples that I’ve come up with thus far:

1.  Court costs in civil cases (charging for due process or for the Seventh Amendment)

2.  Gun licenses (Second Amendment)

Can you think of any others?  (We had poll taxes back in the day, but let’s live in the present.)

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9 Responses

  1. David Fagundes says:

    Speaker permits that are valid time place and manner restrictions?

  2. Court costs in criminal cases.

  3. Gerard Magliocca says:

    Are people typically charged for permits to hold a rally in public space? (I have no idea — the First Amendment is not my area of expertise, if I have one.)

  4. Emily Bremer says:

    Airline taxes, hotel taxes, passport fees, driver license fees, requirements to purchase auto insurance (all costs that must be paid to exercise the right to travel).

  5. Alex Reinert says:

    Many states have started to charge co-pays for receiving medical care in prison. The Eighth Amendment requires the state to provide minimal levels of medical treatment — prisoners who cannot afford the co-pay still receive treatment, but if they are able to pay it later it will be deducted from their prison account.

    And, yes, on the permit question, people are typically charged for permits to demonstrate, but the fee cannot have the effect of imposing a heckler’s veto.

  6. Howard Wasserman says:

    Parades, rallies, and other large public gatherings on streets and sidewalks increasingly require permits and some fee–anything that will involve traffic and crowd control, which government justifies as offsetting the costs for police, clean-up, etc. This is especially so for rallies surrounding big events, such as political conventions, where “security” concerns become heightened. Timothy Zick’s work (notably his book, “Speech Out of Doors”) has focused on how the problems this creates for free speech.

    Note also that some local governments have tried to key fees to the actual costs incurred, so that larger parades or rallies or those likely to draw larger crowds can be charged more. The Court struck down one such attempt in Forsyth County v. The Nationalist Movement (1992).

  7. ChrisC says:

    Bill of rights calls out:
    – Freedom of speech, right to assemble
    – Right to bear arms
    – No quartering of troops without consent of owner during peacetime
    – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure
    – Right to due process except in cases arising in times of war or public danger, cannot be tried for same crime twice, not compelled to witness against yourself, govt cannot take your private property without just compensation
    – Right to a speedy criminal trial by an impartial jury
    – Right to civil trials by jury
    – Protection from excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments
    – Protection of rights not in the constitution
    – Powers not granted to the federal govt by the constitution and not prohibited, are reserved to the States or to the people.

    In terms of fees you probably are really looking at the items already called out other than Civil trial fees.
    I’m not sure on the 8th and minimal medical coverage. I am no expert but guess that must be a later ruling around cruel and unusual.

    I would say that the fees charged by lawyers to deal with trial aspects far outweigh that which you are charged by the government.

  8. Michael Teter says:

    Marriage licenses.

  9. David Ahl says:

    In Rochester, New York, if we decline to grant building inspectors consent to “inspect” our houses for code violations, they harrass us by telephone or letter on a monthly cadence. Last year, the City Council passed a new law imposing a $100 annual “case management fee” to compensate the City for its efforts in providing this periodic harrassment.
    Six plaintiffs are challenging the law in Supreme Court (that’s the tial court level in New York, not the appellate court).
    I’ll be happy to send you the briefs if you send me an e-mail address.
    -David Ahl
    Chair, Legal Issues Committee
    New York State Coalition of Property Owners and Businesses