The ACLJ is also representing several Catholic students who say they and their chaperones were wrongly kicked out of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum because museum staff reacted with hostility to their matching blue pro-life hats, their supporters say. The student group from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina, was also visiting the museum on Jan. 20, the day of the National March for Life.
Sekulow noted the multiple incidents.
“The fact that there were multiple instances of targeted discrimination in at least two federal buildings on the same day against pro-life advocates is no coincidence,” he said Feb. 9. “Where there were two, there are likely more.”
The National Archives and Records Administration said it is investigating what happened in interactions between staff and the three groups at the National Archives Museum.
“Early indications are that our security officers quickly corrected their actions and, from that point forward, all visitors were permitted to enter our facility without needing to remove or cover their attire,” its Friday statement said. “We have reminded all of our security officers at our facilities across the country of the rights of visitors in this regard.”
However, Olivia Summers, senior litigation counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice, questioned that explanation.
According to their clients’ timeline, the earliest client had arrived at 10 a.m. and passed through security before being told to remove their pro-life apparel. The other clients arrived at 10:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., respectively, and were stopped at security.
“So it seems that they ramped up their efforts, not diminished them, at least within that hour,” Summers told CNA Feb. 13.
Summers said attorneys are in the process of filing a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction motion on behalf of several clients who intend to return to the museum. This action would come after a meeting with the museum’s attorneys.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.