But dammit, don’t you dare question their patriotism….
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-S.F., has done something worse than commit a crime against the First Amendment. The speaker’s censorship of nonobtrusive posters featuring men and women who gave that last full measure of devotion in service to their country is a blunder that could alienate 23 million veterans and their families from the Democratic Party. If she is endowed with a crumb of constitutional or political sense, she will reverse course.
The tale of Pelosi’s folly begins with Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. He wished to pay tribute to the service members of Camp Lejeune who had been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Accordingly, Walter placed a poster flat against the wall in the corridor outside his office showing their names and pictures.
……Speaker Pelosi apparently took umbrage. Under federal law, she is empowered to issue and enforce rules and regulations governing the use of the House office buildings. A 1999 rule prohibits “displaying any flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice any person, party, organization or movement…” On April 17, Pelosi issued a sister hallway policy to improve compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act by restricting “the display of flags and the placing or storing of any items within a hallway exit access, exit or stairwell of the House Office Buildings.”
On Aug. 2, the architect of the Capitol removed Jones’ name and picture poster from the Rayburn Office Building wall. Borrowing a page from Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass,” the removal notice insisted that the poster violated the hallway policy, although it was neither a flag nor a stored item within a hallway. The architect also hinted that the wall poster constituted a “flag, banner, or device” prohibited by the 1999 rule, although no one associates any of those nouns with a wall poster.
Displaying homage to fallen soldiers constitutes core political speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has routinely invalidated unreasonable restrictions on the use of government property for speech purposes. And as applied to the wall poster, the hallway policy amounts to censorship for the sake of censorship.
Does this surprise anyone?
1. It’s Pelosi. 2. She’s a Democrat.
Democrats only use the sacrifice of the American military in a context of smear campaigns and feckless anti-war statements.