DC Judge Sides With Pastor, Declares US Capitol’s Eastern Steps a Free Speech Zone – EVOL

The judge ruled in favor of a clergyman who has long sought to pray on those steps.

The lower sets of steps leading to the eastern entrances of the U.S. Capitol building is a “traditional public forum” open for First Amendment expressions like prayers, a federal judged ruled Friday.

In a 28-page opinion, Chief Judge Hames Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a Christian activist who has persistently challenged the limitations on demonstration activity all over Capitol grounds.

The legal crusade started in 2021, when Rev. Mahoney said he felt being called by God to hold a prayer vigil on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Western Front Lawn, in the shadow of the Capitol building. He applied for a permit, which is needed for groups of 20 or more unless sponsored by a member of Congress.

However, the U.S. Capitol Police refused to give him a permit for the vigil, citing heightened security concerns in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 breach of the building complex.

The rejection of his application prompted the clergyman to bring a series of challenges in the ensuing years. The



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