Tags: Minister | Lawsuit | Capitol | Security | Permit

Minister Sues Pelosi, Harris, Others Over Capitol Restrictions

Minister Sues Pelosi, Harris, Others Over Capitol Restrictions
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By    |   Wednesday, 31 March 2021 04:57 PM

A Christian minister has filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Vice President Kamala Harris and others claiming that he’s been denied access to the area around the Capitol building to hold a Good Friday vigil.

Presbyterian Rev. Patrick Mahoney brought the lawsuit in D.C. federal court on Monday, naming Pelosi, Harris, the Capitol Police Board, and the Sergeant of Arms for the Senate among the defendants. He claims that his First Amendment rights were violated by the “blanket denial” of his permit application.

“Plaintiff’s speech has been unconstitutionally deemed unworthy by the defendants,” the suit claims.

“Defendants’ blanket denial of the permitting processes on a traditional public forum is additionally impermissible because they act as a prior restraint on speech. In closing the sidewalks and public areas around the Capitol, including the Lower Western Terrace Plaintiff seeks to utilize, Defendants have effectively created a no-speech zone around the nations Capitol. Defendants prevent any First Amendment activities on/in these areas, even though no specific threat to the Capitol has been identified in justification. Defendants further refuse to inform the Plaintiff of when public sidewalks surrounding these halls of power may once again be utilized for public speech.”

The suit says that “there is no specific threat to the Capitol Building, or surrounding grounds, that warrants, nor justifies, a continuation of the trampling of First Amendment activities on the grounds.”

Court records show that Mahoney sought to hold a vigil on April 2 at the Capitol’s Lower Western Terrace “for the express purpose of beseeching God’s healing from the divisiveness and anxiety lingering over our nation since the tragic events of January 6, 2021,” when the building was breached in a riot.

His application, which was filed on February 2, was denied on March 24, though the Capitol police did offer to approve another location further away from the building.

Mahoney said that he previously worked with the Capitol police last year to hold a vigil “on the Capitol grounds even though COVID-19 was constraining the nation,” and that he has held about 30 other events at that same location for several years.

The lawsuit was brought on Mahoney’s behalf by the Center for American Liberty, whose chief executive Harmeet K. Dhillon told Fox News in a statement: "Denying a minister and faithful parishioners the ability to pray outside the U.S. Capitol is unfathomable and violates First Amendment guarantees for traditional public forums.”

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A Christian minister has filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Vice President Kamala Harris and others...
Minister, Lawsuit, Capitol, Security, Permit
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2021-57-31
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 04:57 PM
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