During a prescheduled House hearing Wednesday morning, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) spent several minutes berating National Parks Service director Jonathan Jarvis over the closing of several Washington, D.C. monuments during the government shutdown.
Contrasting the parks service’s decision to allow in 2011 the Occupy Wall Street movement a one-hundred-day-long encampment in D.C.’s McPherson Square with the turning away of visitors to the National Mall this October, Gowdy scolded Jarvis for favoring the “pot-smoking” Occupiers over the “war veterans” who “helped build” the monuments.
Gowdy wanted Jarvis to cite code or statute for why he erected barricades at the memorials in compliance with the Anti-Deficiency Act. Yet, nothing in the ADA, says anything about barricading open air memorials.
Jarvis did not give one citation as Occupiers camped out for 100 days and yet, his Parks Service turned away veterans and issued citations to veterans.
However, notice the violation of the First Amendment. If you have a group of more than 25, your First Amendment rights have been cancelled by Parks Service’s policy. You are required by them to obtain a permit. That is a clear violation of the First Amendment and furthermore Congress has legislative power, not the Parks Service and the Constitution does not give Congress the right to legislate against Free Speech or peaceable assembly, period. They are specifically banned from doing so.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.