Friday, April 02, 2021

Minister Sues To Hold Good Friday Vigil On U.S. Capitol Grounds

On Tuesday, a complaint was filed in D.C. federal district court by a Presbyterian minister who wants to host a prayer vigil on theWestern Terrace of the U.S. Capitol for Good Friday, as he did in 2020.  He was refused a permit because the Capitol grounds have been fenced off since the January 6 attack on the Capitol.  Plaintiff alleges that the denial of a permit violates his free speech, freedom of assembly, free exercise and other rights.  The complaint (full text) in Mahoney v. Pelosi, (D DC, filed 3/30/2021), alleges in part:

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’ restrictions have specifically and explicitly targeted Plaintiff’s religious and “faith based” service and are thus not neutral on their face. Defendants have prohibited Plaintiff’s religious gathering while exempting a laundry list of other activities that occur at the Capitol, including media events, non-religious public gatherings, and various political and other events.

Fox News reports on the lawsuit. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]