Wednesday, February 01, 2006


AP: GOP congressman's wife calls policeman "idiot" for ejecting her over T-shirt

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer -- 38 minutes ago

Activist Cindy Sheehan  of the Gold Star Families for Peace participates on a panel calling for the impeachment of President. Bush on Monday, Jan. 30, 2006 in Washington. Sheehan joined a coalition of groups at the forum on the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)WASHINGTON - Cindy Sheehan, right, mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, wasn't the only one ejected from the House gallery during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt with a war-related slogan that violated the rules. The wife of a powerful Republican congressman was also asked to leave.

Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young (news, bio, voting record) of Florida — chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee — was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."

Mrs. Young was sitting about six rows from first lady Laura Bush and asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.  "They said I was protesting," she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I said, "Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, 'We consider that a protest.' I said, 'Then you are an idiot.'"

They told her she was being treated the same as Sheehan, a protester ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan. Sheehan wrote in her blog Wednesday that she intends to file a First Amendment lawsuit.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.  D.H.: This GOP congressman apparently thinks you can wear a T-shirt supporting the war in the House gallery, but not one opposing it.  Sweet!  Just pass a law, sir, saying the Capitol Police need to distinguish pro- and con- messages on t-shirts before they eject someone, and we'll see how much sense that makes.  Sounds like the Capitol Police had a simple, enforceable rule -- eject all t-shirts with messages, regardless of content, and they had more sense than the congressman did about this tempest in a teapot. 

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

When I first heard about this I was really surprised. Then I realized that the Capitol officers that had been through this in the 70s had probably retired long ago.

If I remember right, if it is a tee shirt--not a sign--and it contains no obscene words or gory images, a person in the gallery can only be asked to cover the message if it is being remarked upon by others to the extent it might create "turmoil." The person wearing the tee may not be making "loud" verbal comment.

Good grief, it was a lot of years ago that I read that flyer during a protest.

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