Reverend Sues Capitol Police: Blocked From Holding 9/11 Vigil on Site

Reverend Sues Capitol Police: Blocked From Holding 9/11 Vigil on Site Reverend Sues Capitol Police: Blocked From Holding 9/11 Vigil on Site Rev. Patrick Mahoney leads people in prayer outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 01 September 2021 03:54 PM

The Center for American Liberty on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against U.S. Capitol Police on behalf of a reverend who is being blocked from holding a 9/11 vigil on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a Christian activist who has been on the front lines of the pro-life movement for more than 40 years, is allegedly being denied to conduct the vigil in the traditional public forum of the Western Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Grounds where he seeks to “ask God, among other things, protect and watch over America and bring healing to our world and build bridges to our Muslim neighbors,” according to the suit.

"It is antithetical to the Constitution for unelected government bureaucrats and others to exhibit unfettered discretion over who is allowed to assemble on Capitol Grounds and who may not,” Center for American Liberty CEO Harmeet K. Dhillon. “Denying a minister and faithful parishioners the ability to pray outside the U.S. Capitol in the memory of the 9/11 tragedy is unfathomable while Congresswoman Cori Bush and others are allowed to protest at the exact same location."

Mahoney, earlier this year, sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Capitol Police Board and the Sergeant of Arms for the Senate for being denied access to holding a Good Friday vigil on the sidewalk surrounding the U.S. Capitol where a fence had been posted since the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The Center for American Liberty also filed that suit. The fence has been removed as of mid-July.

"The US Capitol Building must be a place where all Americans are afforded the right to come and peacefully celebrate and express their First Amendment Rights," said Mahoney. "Tragically, those rights and freedoms are being denied and prohibited."