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Pushback: Smithsonian ordered to no longer violate the First Amendment

The evil hat that Air & Space banned
The evil hat that Air & Space officials banned

Pushback: The Smithsonian Institution, which runs the Air & Space museum as well as other museums in Washington, D.C., has been ordered by the courts to stop violating the First Amendment, as it did when on January 20, 2023 it harassed and ejected students from a pro-life group, there as part of their participation in the annual March for Life demonstration, because they were wearing wool caps that said “pro-life” on them.

According to the consent order [pdf], the Smithsonian expressed “regret” for the event and promised to “remind all security officers stationed at NASM [National Air & Space Museum] of the rights of visitors.”

The order however does not simply accept the museum’s expression of regret. It specifically enjoins the Smithsonian and its employees “from prohibiting visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum from wearing hats or other clothing with messages, including religious and political speech” and requires it to distribute the consent order to “all security officers stationed at NASM, as well as other Smithsonian personnel who interact with the public, including volunteers and museum staff, within 7 days.” It also orders the museum to tell its security officers that their behavior on January 20th was wrong.

This order was the result of a lawsuit against the Smithsonian for its actions that day. Before the story became news, it appears almost all Washington museums and monuments were under orders from someone in the executive branch of the Biden administration to harass and eject pro-life demonstrators. Pro-life visitors to the National Archives and the Washington Monument were also harassed that day.

After the story hit the press, these institutions immediately expressed regret. Since no one believed them, the pro-life demonstrators went to court, enlisting the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) as their law firm. Not only has the Smithsonian lost in court, so has the National Archives. As noted at the ACLJ press release above:

While we are pleased to announce this victory for our clients, this case is far from over. As with our lawsuit against the National Archives, we will enter a period of mediation with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to see if we can get to the bottom of why our clients were targeted. This is just one of many coordinated efforts to harass and abuse pro-lifers in federally funded institutions. That directive came from someone, and whoever it was must be held accountable, and we’re going to do the work necessary to hold them accountable.

It will be very interesting to see what the ACLJ founds out. The swamp in Washington is very good at protecting itself and hiding its skeletons.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • hansong

    Smithsonian Institution.

  • hansong: Thank you. Fixed.

  • David M. Cook

    Yes, it would be nice to find the democrat rat who did this. Jail time should be in store for any federal official who ordered the violation of the First Amendment rights of an entire group of citizens!

  • Ray Van Dune

    NASM didn’t exist the last time I was in DC, and it’s the only reason I might have considered going back. It simplifies things to know it’s run by the same kind of jerks that flourish everywhere else there. The guys that lovingly restore the old planes are probably decent.

  • sippin_bourbon

    And this is what they say… until the next time. They they will say the person was not trained right, or a new hire.
    The time after that will be “ooops, just a mistake”.

    Confidence level: Zero.

  • David Eastman

    I’m happy to report that I received an email from a friend that I would say is on the liberal side of moderate, that he had sent to a large group of common friends and acquaintances, pointing out this case and it’s verdict and current result, and calling out, in some cases by name, people who persist in saying that we on the right are just making all this stuff up, and it’s still the left that is on the receiving end of all hatred, suppression of speech, pressure, etc. He also called out the fact that this case was presented by the ACLJ, after the ACLU indicated a complete lack of interest. As of the moment, three people on the mail have responded that they have stopped donating to the ACLU and were not shy about letting them know about it. There is hope!

  • David Eastman: Consider emailing this group the link to my full list of blacklist columns:

    These people might at this moment be receptive to looking at it.

  • pzatchok

    This letter is the first step the Government needs to take when it relates to its union employees.

    The next step is official paperwork on an individual basis and after that comes the possibility of firing.

    Everything needs to go through the agreed upon union/employer rules.

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