First Amendment lawsuit threat over WWII memorial closure

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The federal government is facing a class-action lawsuit over its shutdown-related closure of the WWII Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A constitutional law firm is prepared to take action on First Amendment grounds.

“By spending money to bring in barricades to attempt to shut down an open-air memorial is abhorrent and deeply insulting to WWII vets who defended the very freedoms that are now threatened by the Obama Administration’s actions. We are prepared to take legal action if this injustice is not corrected,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said Wednesday.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, ACLJ  outlined four reasons the administration’s closing of the memorial is improper, in light of the First Amendment.

“First, the World War II Memorial has traditionally been open to the public throughout the day and night and is not surrounded by fences or barricades. As such, in order to keep the public and veterans out, barricades had to be specially procured and money spent to erect such barricades to close the Memorial,” according to the letter.

“Second, parks like the Mall and the World War II Memorial are traditional public fora that are available for First Amendment Free Speech activities by all Americans,” according to the letter.

“Third, given the advanced ages of World War II veterans, many of them have limited time and opportunity to visit the Memorial. Hence, in order for them to be able to visit the Memorial, it must be open when they are able to be present in the Nation’s capital,” according to the letter. “Should the closure of the Memorial continue, we will be obligated to file a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against the Government.”

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