Two black leaders who were forced to leave the premises after holding a peaceful demonstration on the sidewalk of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture won their free-speech case. Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr., pastor of a church in Newark, N.J, and Jacqueline Hawkins, director of minority outreach for the nonprofit Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, were there in February decrying what they rightfully termed the “genocide” of black children through abortion. After being told to leave by uniformed police and a museum official or face arrest or forcible removal, the black leaders filed suit claiming violations of their First and Fifth Amendment rights as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In the settlement agreement, the federal government acknowledged that the public sidewalk is “available for First Amendment activity” and paid the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees.
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