Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Maryland

In the first amendment to the united states constitution, we are given the right to petition the government for a redress of our grievances. What exactly does this mean, and how would an individual do this?

Asked on 9/26/13, 7:35 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

In this context, "petition" just means "ask". (The word was commonly used that way back in 1789.) It does not mean "present a document signed by lots of people", although that is one way to ask. There are no specific requirements for such a petition.

How to make such a request will depend upon the nature of your grievance. If you believe the IRS miscalculated your refund, you can call or write the office that processed it. If you're the victim of a federal crime, you can call your local U.S. Attorney or notify the FBI.

If your grievance is more general, you're free to write to any government officials, call their offices, attend their public forums, comment on their websites, etc. Many will meet with their constituents in person, though you may have to wait a while before you can get an appointment. You're also free to write letters to the editor of your local paper, start a website, etc.

Good luck.

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Answered on 9/27/13, 10:28 am

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