Public protest is usually conceived as challenge to the state, overlooking protest performed by governments within state structures. We identify local government opposition to federal policy decisions as a combination of contentious politics and policy innovation. This theoretical framework highlights the role of social structural conditions, political culture, and contextual pressures, which we examine using local government opposition to the USA PATRIOT Act as a case study. We employ multilevel mixed models on a merged data set constructed from (1) a list of places that opposed the Patriot Act, (2) the U.S. Census 2000, and (3) aggregated CBS News/New York Times national polls. We find that social and political variables at the community and at the state levels substantively impact the odds that local government entities express dissent to the Patriot Act. Results also show that prior instances of protest within a state carry significant weight for the process of remonstration.