So it appears the Capitol Police were simply following thje law against sloganeering/demonstrating in the Capitol, a law that seems to make no sense but which appears to be answered pretty uniformly. That makes this comment all the more inappropriate:
Some other members were upset about Sheehan’s arrest. “I’m still trying to find out why the president’s Gestapo had to arrest Cindy Sheehan in the gallery. … It shows he still has a thin skin,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont.
That would be the nonpartisan Capitol Police he is calling Nazi’s.
*** Update ***
Drudge has a recap of a man wearing an anti-Clinton t-shirt being detained. Apparently they do seriously enforce this. Who knew?
*** Update #2 ***
The Drudge story is of, umm, dubious reliability. Isn’t that always the case, though?
*** Update #3 ***
Al Maviva, with the definitive comment on the controversy:
SHIRT GETS TEACH A DRESSING-DOWN Daily News (New York) February 11, 1999, Thursday
WASHINGTON A Pennsylvania school teacher was yanked out of a VIP Senate gallery and briefly detained last week during the impeachment trial for wearing a T-shirt with graphic language dissing President Clinton.
Dave Delp, 42, of Carlisle, Pa., and a friend had just settled into their seats last Saturday when four Capitol security guards approached them. Delp said yesterday he was ordered to button his coat and follow the guards. Outside the chamber, he was told “several people felt threatened by your shirt,” which said, “Bill Doesn’t Inhale He Just S—s.”
Even after establishing that Delp was a guest of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the guards wouldn’t let him back in and escorted him to a basement security area, where they questioned and photographed him.
After being given one of the photos as a souvenir, Delp said he was banned from the Capitol for the rest of the day. “They were polite and professional,” Delp added, “but they really did scare me. I think I should have been given the chance to cover up.”
Capitol police declined to comment.
I know. I’m a shameles right wing Bush Fellater so this must be just made up right wing lying lies. Here’s another right wing lying lie about a lying right wing activist liar who was ejected prior to the SOTU address last night: (If you accuse somebody of lying often enough, it makes it true enough, for all practical purposes, right?)
Florida Rep.’s Wife Says She Was Ejected From State Of Union
POSTED: 7:07 am EST February 1, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. AP — The wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, told a newspaper that she was ejected during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt that says, “Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom.”
Beverly Young told the St. Petersburg Times that she was sitting in the front row of the House gallery Tuesday night when she was approached by someone who told her she needed to leave.
She said she reluctantly agreed, but argued with several officers in an outside hallway.
In a telephone interview with the newspaper, Young said she told them her shirt wasn’t a protest but a message of support.
Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Young wasn’t ejected from the gallery and she left on her own. She couldn’t provide additional details.
Young’s husband found out about the incident after Bush’s speech and called it unacceptable.
As if anybody here cares, the time manner place restrictions on free speech in legislative halls is frequently described as a limited forum or limited purpose forum. I can’t recall which one it is off hand, but based on the number of First Amendment experts posting around here I’m sure somebody has the answer at their fingertips. Legislatures generally have the ability to limit the topics of discussion and debate on the floor and in the gallery of their meeting places. If your local school board wants to discuss textbooks, they can expressly discriminate against you for attempting to voice your anti-abortion or pro-choice message – they can even tell you to shut up before you try to voice it, and have you removed for being a disorderly presence. They can greatly constrict your ability to speak out, usually in the interest of the smooth operation of government. The rationale works across government branches. Speech is speech is speech; doesn’t matter if it’s speech on a T-shirt, a poster board, or coming out of your mouth. If the legislature has the power to exclude in this arena based on viewpoint, it also has the power to include, determining at its discretion what is a permissible topic or manner of speech, such as tiny little flags, or elephant ties. Moreover, the fact that two people with opposing views were ejected for the same activity – mere wearing of communicative T-shirts speaking out on the war – indicates a viewpoint neutrality that might even pass muster outside of the limited forum tests as non-viewpoint discriminatory, but merely restrictive of speech on a particular topic.
So I’ll defend to the death your right to grow your white boy dreadlocks and march around in sloganed T-shirts and with signs on the Capitol steps, but your right to do that ends at the Capitol’s front door. Or the Supreme Court’s front door, for that matter. As much as I’d like to see Fred Phelps, Ralph Neas and Ralph Reed in a screaming and bloody Steel Cage Death Match (compleat with folding chairs and strippers) on the floor of the House during a SOTU, it’s not appropriate, and giving people the right to stage political theater would invite further disorder into the shambles of a legislative process we now have. I know, I know, the very first thing Hitler did upon taking power was to throw a Jewish guy wearing an anti-Kristallnacht T-shirt out of the Reichstag…
This sort of ends the whole thing for me.