Presbyterian preacher Rev. Patrick Mahoney is suing for access to the sidewalk near the Capitol. A report details that Rev. Mahoney “is suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. Capitol Police Board, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, claiming that the continued presence of a fence blocking off the area surrounding the Capitol building is violating his First Amendment rights.”
The complaint stated that Rev. Mahoney is “seeking injunctive and declaratory relief” to “exercise his constitutional right to conduct a prayer vigil on Capitol grounds on April 2, 2021 – the traditional Christian observance of Good Friday– for the express purpose of beseeching God’s healing from the divisiveness and anxiety lingering over our nation.”
The complaint informs the court that Rev. Mahoney held “his Good Friday prayer vigil in 2020” in the same spot. He is merely seeking to exercise the same right he was granted just one year before. “In 2020, [Rev. Mahoney] worked with Capitol Police to ensure that he was able to safely hold a prayer vigil on Capitol grounds even though COVID-19 was constraining the nation,” it states.
Rev. Mahoney’s lawyers argued that “the sidewalks and other public grounds” surrounding the United States Capitol are still “traditional public forums.” Continuing to “fence off to the public” what is rightfully the public’s space is creating what they call a “restraint on speech.”
The complaint reads, “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 nation’s Capitol. Defendants prevent any First Amendment activities on/in these areas, even though no specific threat to the Capitol has been identified in justification.”
Stop the censors, sign up to get today’s top stories delivered right to your inbox
Rev. Mahoney also accuses the government of “refusing to inform” him “of when public sidewalks surrounding these halls of power may once again be utilized for public speech.” The Fox report obtained the email from Capitol Police to Rev. Mahoney where it stated that his request was denied due to the area in question being in a “restricted” zone.
In one of the more poignant sections of Rev. Mahoney’s complaint, it states that because “an actual controversy exists” between the public and the federal government “involving substantial constitutional issues,” it argues that their “policies violate the Constitution by investing public officials with the authority to decide which speech is appropriate on Capitol grounds, and through the prior restraint of speech in a traditional public forum.”
For this reason, he is seeking “the Court’s intervention to allow [him] to exercise his free speech rights on the sidewalks” surrounding the Capitol. Lawyer and CEO of Center for American Liberty, Harmeet K. Dhillon, said, “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.”
The true test of our Republic is coming. With litigation swiftly coming in defending ‘America First’ against Joe Biden’s administration’s radical nature, it is important to see how the courts handle our freedoms. If the courts defend the American people against the on slot of liberal aggression, we can survive to fight another campaign. If the courts do not fend us, we are merely the Titanic band playing the ship underwater.
ARTICLE SOURCE : thefederalistpapers.org