Sheehan Arrested for Anti-War Sign Just Before SOTU

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Annoying anti-war activist and buddy of Hugo Chavez, Cindy Sheehan was removed from the House Chamber by Capitol police because she had an anti-war sign, according to CNN's crawl. She was the invited guest of a member of Congress. I dislike Sheehan, but is there a law against sitting quietly with a protest sign in the Capitol? Hey, it might be indecorous, but what about the right of citizens to petition their government?

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  1. Hey, it might be indecorous, but what about the right of citizens to petition their government?

    Ron, the president used his authority granted him by the U.S. Constitution as the commander-in-chief and the authority given him by Congress in its resolution authorizing the use of all due force to repeal that right during the war on terror

    now stop asking so many questions, Mr. rabble-rouser

  2. House rules say no signs. They didn’t invent them for Sheehan, and they’re not double super secret rules. Had she bothered to call ahead and ask if she’d be allowed to unfurl her Seattle Seahawks flag, she would have known the answer was “no.” And she was “detained,” not arrested. And it was a publicity stunt to get a story out about how she got “arrested” by the Evil Tyrant Bush.

  3. methodman: No doubt you’re right–but why not just take her sign away and let her sit there?

  4. should the rules of the US House of Representatives supersede the US Constitution?

  5. Why arrest? Couldn’t they just confiscate her banner and let her stay? I’m sure they could of found some rule for taking it away without arrest. It’s not like it was a dangerouse weapon or anything.

  6. I heard that it was a t-shirt, not a sign or placard.

  7. I’m hearing it wasn’t a sign, but an anti-war t-shirt.

    A Freakin’ t-shirt.

    Is Bush really that threatened by free speech?

  8. You posted while I was writing, but I definetly agree with you Ron.

  9. I haven’t read up, but if it was a t-shirt, well, fuck that!

  10. I guess Cindy should have offered to take off her T-shirt for W.

  11. They should have made her take off the t-shirt, then arrested her for indecent exposure.

  12. Yeah, I’m a Seehan despiser as well, but this is ridiculous.

  13. What, is every Reason contributor going to have their own thread about Cindy Sheehan?

  14. Cindy commited a dress code violation, a t-shirt with gang influences, and hillary was chewing gum.

    They both got detention and will meet up later at 4:20. wink. wink nudge nudge..

  15. It was a T-shirt. I feel sick.

    Russ for President

    California for Feingold

  16. Great blog beetle! Thanks. Russ rules!

    I’m from Wisconsin I oughta know.

    No one wants to get in a presidsential debate with Russ. Mess with this badger and draw back a stump.

    Democrats lack toughness. They need Feingold.

  17. “…what about the right of citizens to petition their government?”

    Only corporate citizens have that right, and only if they pay government officials off.

    Why should we the rabble expect anything different? It’s not our country anymore, since the neo-corporatist coup in 2000 the constitution has been suspended, and only applies to corporate citizens.

    Corporate lobbyists write the laws and the legislators rubber stamp them, given enough campaign “donations”. That’s what passes for petitioning these days.

  18. She’s achieved total clown status. I’m hoping for her to steal a Ronald McDonald suit for whatever anti-globalization demonstration is next on the agenda.

  19. My guess is that Republicans and the White House feared, with good reason given her past behavior, that Sheehan would have engaged in some sort of outburst or created some disturbance during the live telecast of the speech. Thus, the fact that she had the sign was a convenient excuse.

    Or was it? Could some operative of, say, um, Karl Rove have told her the sign would be ok?

    Just wonderin’.

  20. I heard on the radio that a Congressman’s wife got tossed for wearing a “Support our Troops” shirt. It’s just some rule Congress has to keep things like this from becoming a circus, I suppose. I don’t think Sheehan’s speech rights have been harmed much. I sometimes wish they would shut her up–what a loon!

  21. As much distaste as I have for Sheehan, let’s not forget to knock the smart-ass congresscritter who certainly wouldn’t have the guts to actually hold up a sign herself.

    Sheehan, once again, is manipulated by the rest of the lefties. Slimy. Very slimy.

    -jcr

  22. Given what I now know about the t-shirt rule, I understand the decision. Personally, I wouldn’t put a t-shirt rule in place, but I understand the reasoning. I’m no longer so alarmed by this.

  23. “Annoying anti-war activist and buddy of Hugo Chavez, Cindy Sheehan [whose son was killed in Iraq War]”

    It is quite amazing the disdain seen here for a person practiceing free speech. I do not think her positions are all that cogent, but she was able to point out what a jackass Bush is, and possibly was a catalyst for Bush’s slide into very unpopular President territory, so she is doing some good.
    I added that part in brackets, because it isn’t mentioned anywere else, and seems more relevent than any ‘friendship’ she has with Hugo Chavez.

  24. Have y’all ever been on the floor of a legislature? There are rules of decorum.

    Or this could be a case of the stifling of constitutional rights on the heels of a corporatist coup…

  25. Man arrested for wearing anti-Clinton t-shirt at impeachment hearing.

    Can the hysterics die down now?

  26. Also,

    Glenn Greenwald has a good post that argues that her arrest was in fact unconstitutional. He cites Bynum v. U.S. Capitol Police Bd and presents this snippet :

    Believing that the Capitol Police needed guidance in determining what behavior constitutes a ‘demonstration,’ the United States Capitol Police Board issued a regulation that interprets ‘demonstration activity,'” and that regulation specifically provides that it “does not include merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message. Traffic Regulations for the Capitol Grounds, ? 158”

  27. Have y’all ever been on the floor of a legislature? There are rules of decorum.

    Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.

    —-Dr. Stangelove

  28. If she was removed from the Capitol that is one thing, but to ARREST someone is entirely different. The gentleman mentioned in the drudge link was merely escorted out and photographed. Ms Sheehan was fingerprinted and arrested. So I think that hysterics aren’t out of order.

    In both cases, the individual was detained for several hours by Capitol Police and then released. Sheehan was given the opportunity to cover her shirt, and she declined.

  29. *Have y’all ever been on the floor of a legislature? There are rules of decorum.*

    And if’n they don’t follow them rules, I say, thrash’em.

  30. I’m more of the opinion that her being removed is better for the dove/anti-Bush crowd than her being allowed to stay would be.

    Her being removed is a story. You can make “gestapo” and “thin skin” jokes. It’s leveragable.

    If she had stayed, two things would have happened:

    1. Nothing (not terribly leveragable)
    2. She would have created a scene (leveragable for the wrong side)

    Rove would have let her stay. He would have even arranged for her to get a speech ahead of time with pointers for the best places to stand up and scream “MURDERER!!!”

  31. In both cases, the individual was detained for several hours by Capitol Police and then released. Sheehan was given the opportunity to cover her shirt, and she declined

    Detained and arrested are not the same thing. In the drudge story, the person was “breifly detained” and released. In the case of Ms. Sheehan, she was cuffed takan outside and then placed into a squad car and taken to jail.

    Maybe in your mind those are equivalent, but I wouldn’t say so.

    Also, she wasn’t given the opporunity to cover her shirt, but please feel free to cite where you got your info from. Ms Sheehan has posted her side of the events here

  32. “If she was removed from the Capitol that is one thing, but to ARREST someone is entirely different.”

    No it’s not. She was arrested, probably, for trespassing or an equivalent. She was first informed that she could not wear that t-shirt and was asked to either cover it up or leave. She refused. She was then arrested.

    There are ways in which certain aspects of the function of government in which government agencies need to have the same rights as a private business would have. Quite obviously you needed an invitation to attend the State of the Union, so just as obviously there are restrictions as to who can and cannot go. So it’s not really a public forum, so I’m not entirely sure why there should be much of a difference between a State of the Union address and a State of the Company address.

    I realize this poor woman’s dissent is being stifled, I mean up until now, this woman has had an awful lot of trouble getting her message out. If only we could somehow find out what she has to say…

  33. ChicagoTom: Thanks for posting the link to DailyKos so we could see Cindy Sheehan’s own version of events.

    OK, people, here it is! She did not intend any disruption of the SOTU address. She just happened to be wearing a T-shirt that said “2245 Dead. How many more?” under her zipped-up jacket. She probably has dozens of those hanging in her closet and she just happened to grab one. Then at the event she went to the bathroom, came back to her seat, felt all hot from climbing three stairways back from the bathroom, and unthinkingly unzipped her jacket, thereby inadvertantly exposing the T-shirt.

    No one told her such a T-shirt would be unwelcome. Nor did they give her the option to cover up the T-shirt — apparently because the jackbooted thugs jumped to the conclusion that she unzipped her jacket and exposed the previously uncovered T-shirt on purpose. From that, it seems they somehow got an idea that she was specifically there to expose the T-shirt, when it was really an accident that she would have eagerly rectified, if only that option had pointed out to her. How much trouble would it have been to say, “Ma’am, did you know you can zip your jacket back up, as well as unzip it?”

    But what else do you expect in Judge Alito’s Amerikkka, under the ruling cabal of the oilwarring neoconmen?

    (Sorry. Lefty-loon twit protesters always bring out the reactionary ass in me.)

  34. How about the rights of 200+ million Americans to hear the President’s speech without disruption? Not that he had anything meaningful to say, but even Democrats had the courtesy to wait until the speech was over before protesting.

    Do libertarians really believe that free speech entitles people to disrupt the speech of others? If Sheehan had paraded outside in front of the building with a megaphone and a placard nobody would care. Or is civility outside the realm of libertarian philosophy?

  35. It was posted on Drudge that Sheehan had gotten a pass from a California representative about 24 hours before the speech. In that same post it was mentioned Sheehan was warned that protests would not be tolerated during the ceremony. Sheehan indicated she was going to be polite and was just there to observe the speech.

  36. speaking of hysterics, wearing a t-shirt while sitting quitely in a chair does not constitute disrupting the speech of others. she “might” have disrupted the SOTU address. if she had, THEN she would have deserved to be arrested, IMHO.

  37. “You suck and those boys died”

    Say this to the president and you might be locked up for a week. I think this one happened before the era of big government ended. The woman’s husband was also hauled away.

    ChicagoTom, I can’t believe you didn’t bring this one up. You’re not from some other Chicago, are you? Not that I doubt your identity, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to take this field test:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ericzorn/chi-realchicago2quiz,0,5612509.weightedquiz

  38. damn it!

    …quietly…

    I’m going to follow my own advice about using the Google toolbar spellchecker now….

  39. “speaking of hysterics, wearing a t-shirt while sitting quitely in a chair does not constitute disrupting the speech of others. she “might” have disrupted the SOTU address. if she had, THEN she would have deserved to be arrested, IMHO.”

    Concerns for the rights of people to hear a speech and for the rights of speakers to be heard lead to rules of decorum. You might not agree with those rules, but they were in place prior to the incident. Sheehan was informed of the rules, agreed to abide by the rules, then proceeded to violate the rules. IMHO she deserves no sympathy whatsoever. Narcissism should not be confused with free speech. I agree that arresting her was out of line, but she deserved to be escorted out of the building and detained until after the speech was completed.

    I am trying to learn something about libertarianism from these threads. Is civility a concept foreign to libertarian philosophy? I would think that any responsible person sympathetic to Sheehan’s message would have been embarassed by her behavior.

    It would seem to me that people concerned about free speech, at a time when there are serious encroachments of free speech, would not trivialize the problem by complaining about an incident like this.

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