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Tipsheet

Smithsonian Is About to Get a Brutal Lesson in Constitutional Rights

Mark Lennihan

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is about to get a lesson in constitutional rights, which could cost them. A mainstay of DC tourist season decided to kick some high school students out. No, they weren’t committing any acts of vandalism or other activities associated with hooliganism. It was an article of clothing that triggered the museum’s staff, reportedly eliciting mockery until they were finally asked to leave the premises. Staff claimed the location was a “neutral zone.” Their offense: they wore pro-life beanies inside the facility.

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Museum staffers don’t have that right; there is no dress code. The Smithsonian is taxpayer-funded—and ejecting kids for wearing pro-life beanies is the definition of bush league. They at least admitted to screwing up, with the museum’s deputy communications director, Alison Wood, saying, “Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident, and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again.” 

That’s not good enough, as The American Center for Law and Justice announced they intend to sue the museum (via Fox News): 

A prominent Christian legal organization has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the parents and Catholic school students who were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for wearing pro-life hats last month.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), announced the lawsuit ‘Kristi L. v. National Air & Space Museum’ late Tuesday, alleging that the Smithsonian "targeted, harassed" and "kicked out" a dozen Catholic high school students and their chaperones on Jan. 20 for wearing beanies inscribed with a pro-life message.

The group belonged to Our Lady of the Rosary School based out of Greenville, South Carolina, and had traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual national March for Life. The students were all wearing matching blue beanies with the words "Rosary PRO-LIFE." 

[…] 

The lawsuit details an encounter between the personnel and students, some of whom are minors. As they were making their way toward an exhibit, two employees allegedly said, "The f—king pro-life. What a bunch of s—t." 

A Smithsonian security guard then approached the group, according to the lawsuit, insisting that they take their hats off or leave. 

"One of the security guards approached them, gleefully rubbing his hands together, stating they had made his day," the ACLJ wrote in an online statement. 

When the group asked why other visitors in the museum were able to wear their hats and pride masks without issue, they were told that their hats were "political statements," and that they were "not promoting equality," according to the suit.

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Forget retraining; if this all is corroborated, every staffer who engaged in this nonsense should be fired at least. Who puts themselves in a position that could get them fired from being a staffer, security guards included, at the Smithsonian? All these people had to do was punch their tickets, ensure no one touched the exhibits or violated any basic safety standards, and keep their mouths shut. Instead, they decided to fight with Catholic high schoolers, who have jammed up their employer in a civil rights lawsuit.  

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