Rally on 'Closed' National Mall
The Wall Street Journal
Immigration advocates will rally Tuesday on the otherwise shuttered National Mall, their permit valid due to an exception granted events where people are exercising their First Amendment rights, a spokesman for the National Park Service said Monday.
"Employees are furloughed," said spokesman Mike Litterst, "but the First Amendment continues."
But at least one member of Congress complained. "Obama closed the National Mall to WWII vets. You can visit it tomorrow, but only if you're in the illegal alien rally," wrote Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) on his Twitter feed.
He was referencing a group of veterans who had tried to visit the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall during the first day of the partial government shutdown last week. Visitors busted through barriers to get to the memorial, but were allowed in the following day after they claimed a First Amendment right to be there and were greeted by sympathetic lawmakers.
Mr. Litterst, of the park service, said that the rules are the same for the immigration rally as they are for any other group claiming to be exercising their First Amendment rights at national parks or memorials.
For instance, he said, anybody claiming this right can just show up at the war memorial and view it from the designated First Amendment area, he said; groups of 26 or more need a permit.
"Under the same First Amendment rights that are allowing Honor Flight veterans and their families to visit the veterans memorials on the National Mall, other groups will be granted access to the park for First Amendment activities in accordance with National Park Service established regulations," he added in an email.
Asked to explain Mr. Stockman's tweet, Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson said by email that the only reason the World War II memorial was open to the veterans is because members of Congress were with them, and he said that the park service was acting under orders from the White House in formulating its policies.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 10/07/2013
Editor's Note: Un-freaking-believable!...
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