House Judiciary Committee denies access to public hearing
June 26th, 2008
In which David Addington and John Yoo testify on state use of torture
What: 1st Amendment Rights Infringement by House Judiciary Committee Protest
Where: Rayburn Building Room 2141
When: As House Judiciary hearing recesses
Members of CODEPINK, Amnesty International, ACLU, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans against the War were denied entry with logos or imprints stating No Torture, Close Guantanamo, You are Not Alone, Democracy Now, And Justice for All and Restore Habeas Corpus.
Committee staffer, Teresa Vest instructed Capitol Police Officers to obstruct members of the public from entering Judiciary Committee Hearing Room 2141 who were wearing orange t-shirts. A Capitol Police officer stated, "I'm sorry you can't go in. You have 'Democracy' on your t-shirt."
Although tourists routinely attend public hearings with logos and other promotional messaging, the Judiciary Committee has chosen to deny access to this hearing based solely on the type of clothing and messaging worn by members of the public.
"As citizen activists we have the constitutional right to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech: t-shirts, the color orange or pink and the words Habeas Corpus or Democracy are not violations of congressional decorum.", Desiree Fairooz reminded the public waiting outside the hearing room.
We condemn the discriminatory practices of the House Judiciary Committee and the specific profiling tactics of the Capitol Police. We remind the members of the House of Representatives that they were voted into office by the citizens of the United States to whom they serve and have sworn to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.