Good news: National Mall, ostensibly closed due to shutdown, to open for immigration reform rally

Another “First Amendment” exception to the shutdown, just like the one that was carved out on false pretenses for Honor Flight vets after the White House took a PR beating for locking them out of the World War II Memorial.

I keep trying to figure out how this exception works. Explain this to me: Do I have a First Amendment right to open up the DMV after it’s closed for the day because I want to protest inside at midnight? The point of closing down parks, I thought, is that there’s not enough security to staff the grounds given all the furloughs. Which is nonsense — the WWII Memorial, for instance, is open overnight during normal operations despite being unstaffed — but there’s at least theoretical logic to it. How does that logic square with keeping people out unless they want to make a political point, in which case it’s time to open up? It’s either safe or it isn’t. If it is, why limit the grounds to “First Amendment activities”?

A planned immigration reform rally will take place on the National Mall on Tuesday even though the site is closed due to the government shutdown.

Organizers for the “Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform” were spotted Monday setting up a stage and equipment on the National Mall for the rally which will take place on Tuesday.

A few scattered barriers around the park have signs informing visitors that the area is closed as a result of the government shutdown.

Susana Flores, a spokesperson for the rally, confirmed for the Washington Examiner that the Park Service will allow the event to take place under the group’s rights granted by the First Amendment.

Here’s a better question, actually: Why would you want to hold a rally in an area that’s closed to the public? Or is this going to be a deal where the entire Mall opens up to the public strictly for the duration of the rally, with attendees herded away and onto the side streets afterward once they’ve absorbed the pro-amnesty message? Fun fact, by the way: Among those attendees will be Nancy Pelosi and Bob Menendez, and the sponsors include the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Membership has its advantages, I guess.

If you missed it over the weekend, here’s the owner of the Pisgah Inn, a private institution leased on federal land, explaining what happened when he decided to re-open after being told by the NPS to close — at the height of tourist season. That decision to re-open is in fact an actual protest of the feds’ arbitrary land-use decisions during the shutdown. Think his First Amendment rights protected him? Watch and see.

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