I understand that this might be somewhat of a stupid question but I must ask it.

Does one have the legal RIGHT to party in the United Kingdom and / or United States?

For example some of the fundamental rights are the right to liberty, the right to self-determination, the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of expression.

Would a court acknowledge that people have the fundamental right to party?

If not would it be possible to start a petition to pass a law that acknowledges the right to party?

NOTE: by right to party I mean right to throw and / or attend a party.

  • @Mango Attending a party could very well be under the freedom of mobility. Throwing a party wouldn't be a freedom of liberty, or expression?
    – Zizouz212
    May 23, 2016 at 16:17
  • I'm fairly sure the Beastie Boys fought for your rights for this sort of thing... (humour)
    – Criggie
    Sep 25 at 0:55

3 Answers 3


In the States, there is no fundamental right to party, per se. Yet all is not lost: there is a sense in which people have a right to throw parties. U.S. Const., Am. I describes the "right of the people peaceably to assemble," maybe that's what the Beastie Boys meant.

That said, the government can restrict the time, place, and manner of assembly so long as they "are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech...are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and...leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information." Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989).

These restrictions are heavily locality-dependent and tend to take the form of nuisance laws and requirements to obtain permits, amongst other things, as in Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569 (1941).

Fundamental rights are specifically identified in the U.S. Constitution. So to have the right to party recognized as a fundamental right would require either:

  1. An amendment to the Constitution (which would have to be ratified by 2/3 of the states), or
  2. A Supreme Court decision that interprets existing Constitutional language as granting that right, as was successively done with the "right to privacy."

As to the latter, I doubt a court would acknowledge a fundamental right to party for two reasons: 1) it's easier to grant a fundamental right in a general category (like peaceable assembly) without specifying subcategories for the particular purposes of assembly, and 2) one might argue purposes are varied, by their nature, and so local governments are better suited to address them via tailored restrictions like permits.

  • 3
    I doubt that the Beastie Boys' idea of "party" is very peaceable. But at its root, I suspect the problem with the "right to party" is the definition of "party" -- to differentiate the party from "assembly" you pretty quickly get into questions of conduct and that in turn gets very subjective very quickly.
    – phoog
    May 23, 2016 at 21:20
  • @phoog you're right...seems like it's easier for courts to not stumble into the weeds
    – Pat W.
    May 30, 2016 at 14:28
  • 1
    In the context of the Beastie Boys, the "right to party" seems to not be so much a right to be free from governmental interference, but parental. Mar 30, 2018 at 16:16
  • 2
    ah yes, those renowned legal scholars known as the Beastie Boys. Top notch! Mar 19, 2020 at 16:27

The "Right to Party" as defined by the organization known as "The Beastie Boys" is not defined in any portion of their discourse on the matter of the "Right to Party". Rather, the entire discourse poetically describes a youth, presumably under the legal adult age of 18 (given restrictions on smoking cigarettes and owning adult literature in the second verse), who faces restrictions upon his or her rights by his legal guardians, in this case a mother, father, and teacher.

Whereas the dictionary definition of the verb form of "Party" is defined by Oxford Dictionary as "Enjoying oneself at a party or other lively gathering, typically with drinking and music." As established, the subject of the proposed treaty on this right is legally barred from drinking, though a party may exist without alcohol and thus would not prevent the subject from engaging in an act of partying.

A party or lively gathering would meat the definition of "Freedom of Peaceful Assembly" under the First Amendment Rights of the United States Constitution as well as "Freedom of Association" under the same amendment. Said party may additionally be for any purpose so long as it is peaceful.

The state may impose reasonable restrictions on the party, such as noise ordinances, age based restrictions on minors including "Adult Contents", cigarettes and alchohol, as discussed. While typcial, they're absence does not prevent the assembly from rising to the level of "party" as previous defined.

Beastie Boys contends that the restrictions place upon the subject of their discourse on the Right to Party is unreasonably restricted by the confiscation of several items, enforced school requirements, and dress code as defined by the legal guardian in their right as authority of the youth's rights. Beastie Boys offers little evidence that these restrictions are unreasonable or prevent the subject from "partying" as defined above. Beastie Boys do propose that the authority known as the father can not restrict the use of cigarettes by the youth as the father "smokes two packs a day". While Beastie Boys is correct that this meets the definition of hypocritical, the father is assumed to be of legal age to purchase cigarettes and is legal allowed to restrict access to them based on reasonable age restrictions and possible heath risks the father wishes to prevent in the youth that he may or may not be suffering from. As there are no formal requirements for a peaceful assembly to rise to the level of party, it can be presumed that these restrictions would not affect the party as defined. It should also be noted that in the Beastie Boys discourse, that the authority figure referred to as mother did not restrict the youths ability to listen to the content of the discourse, nor were any restrictions described tailored in such a fashion as to restrict the discourse specifically.

While there is no amendment defining the right to party in the United States Constitution, the 9th Amendment does clearly state that citizens rights are not enumerated in the constitution and other rights not discussed in the constitution may exists and be claimed by the individual.

From an originalist standpoint, it is widely accept that a good number of The Framers of the Constitution quite frequently met the accepted definition of the phrase "Drunk off their Ass" and thus, would not reasonably be against what can be defined as a "party". Additionally, many were participants in an event that was known as the "Tea Party", which was agreed by many to be quite the lively gathering at its time and was still viewed as quite the "radical" affair of the day, many wearing costumes such as those who attended in clothing traditional of Native Americans. They were also most likely not drunk during the course of this party. Thus, the intent of the framers was never to restrict or deniegn such a right

Thus, a reasonable court in the United States would hold that the Right to Party does exist for all U.S. citizens and is inalienable.

Beastie Boys also argues that it is acceptable to fight for one's right to party. This does not conflict with the First Amendment Right to petition government for grievances so long as it is again a peaceable affair. Given the poetic nature of the discourse, we can presume that "Fight" would mean to defend or struggle in a non-violent manor for such a right. This is backed up through originalism as the restrictions placed on many citizens of Boston for their actions during the Tea Party were subsequently fought against for many years, culminating in the Constitution.

Thus, it can be assumed that the United States does recognize the right of the people to party and the right of the people to fight for the aforementioned right. This right would still be subject to reasonable time, manner, and place restrictions so long as said restrictions are content neutral to the message of the party.


I'm surprised no one has mentioned this before: the preamble to the Declaration of Independence (not the Constitution) states

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I don't know if this has any legal force, but the "right to party" would fall under "Liberty" and potentially under "the pursuit of Happiness" (despite the capital letter, I believe this refers to the concept of happiness, not a named entity).

The entire paragraph is somewhat suspicious: it declares "Life" and "Liberty" (again, I'm assuming they mean "life" and "liberty") to be two of the "unalienable Rights", but the later Fifth Amendment states:

No person shall be [...] deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law [...]

which implies (but does not state) that you can be deprived of life and liberty with due process of law, which could just mean by the passage of a law restricting liberty, although the Supreme Court would probably rule such a law unconstitutional.

As far as I know, there's no Constitutional amendment that explicitly takes away your "unalienable right" to the "pursuit of Happiness", but I also don't think anyone has successfully used the preamble to the Declaration of Independence in a Supreme Court case.

  • 3
    The Declaration of Independence has no legal force in the United States, except maybe to establish that the US is an independent country and not a part of the UK.
    – cpast
    Nov 18, 2016 at 2:26

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