I Never Get Lucky
Rumor has it that getting rich in the law business is just as much knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time as anything having to actually do with the quality practice of law.
Obviously, my luck sucks, because I was not Cindy Sheehan's attorney yesterday before she went to the State of the Union Address as an invited guest of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.
And I resent that. I resent that someone probably nowhere as deserving as me is going to get paid from what is a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel First Amendment case:
Cindy Sheehan being arrested in, and dragged out of, yesterday's State of the Union address merely because she was wearing a tee-shirt that said
"2245 Dead. How many more?"
While the fair and balanced media initially gave new meaning to the term "fact-based reporting" when initially, upon word of the arrest, they claimed that the reason was everything from "Capitol Police being warned that Cindy *might* cause a disturbance" (CNN) to "Cindy caused a disturbance" (C-Span) to "Cindy had/tried to unfurl an anti-war banner" (heard on CNN *and* Fox), according to both newspapers and Cindy's own account of what happened this was not a situation in which she said anything, or did anything. Except take off her coat. The moment that happened, a Capitol police person yelled "Protestor!" and Cindy Sheehan was hustled out of the public gallery. There is no report from newsmedia that she resisted, struggled, or made any scene.
Despite this, wingnuts both active and in disguise are running for cover this morning. Claiming that Cindy's Sheehan's ejection and arrest were not REALLY based on disapproval of the content of her t-shirt, citing that Representative C.W. Mike Young's wife was also ejected from SOTU last night because she was wearing a message t-shirt (her's said "Support Our Troops Defending our Freedom").
Except for one thing: The claim that Beverly Young was ejected is a lie, if you believe the Capitol Police.
Let's compare Beverly Young's experience to Cindy Sheehan's last night:
Beverly Young had her t-shirt on in plain sight. Cindy Sheehan's jacket was still partially on. Beverly Young was not labeled "Protestor!" by a yelling cop merely for displaying her shirt. Cindy Sheehan was. Beverly Young was treated with respect and permitted to get up and leave under her own power. Cindy Sheehan was not. Beverly Young was not shoved up a flight of stairs. Cindy Sheehan was. Capitol Police deny forcing Beverly Young to leave at all. Capitol Police admit -- proudly -- that Cindy Sheehan was forced out of the gallery and arrested.
Oh, there is one other difference:
Beverly Young is married to a Republican supporter of Bush's illegal war in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan lost her son to Bush's illegal war in Iraq.
On the other hand, Beverly Young and Cindy Sheehan *do* have at least one thing in common:
Both have tried to call attention to the human horrors that have flowed from Bush's illegal war.
Yup, the wife of a formerly staunch Republican hawk who has been in the Congress since before God (aka Ronald Reagan) and who chairs the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has been championing the cause of wounded and disabled soldiers from the Iraq war. Admitting now to personal misgivings about the war despite initial support, she has become a champion for complaining about red tape and bureacracy standing in the way of their care.
With what appears to be the same personal passion that drove Cindy Sheehan to sit in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, during the days that ultimately crowned her the mother of the modern antiwar movement.
Hmm. Maybe Beverly Young really *was* asked to leave SOTU yesterday after all.............
Hell, if she was, I clearly am still not lucky. I don't represent her, either. Dangit.
Now, I know that today far more brilliant legal minds than mine will be looking at how to legally justify yanking Cindy Sheehan out merely for wearing a non-obscene tee-shirt as political speech in a government building. That's what they get paid the big bucks for. I'm just a solo practitioner.
But I'd be a wealthy solo practitioner if only I was Cindy Sheehan's lawyer this morning: (a) public building; (b) adult; (c) non-obscene political speech; (d) content-based government action; (e) no rule against clothing/t-shirts with messages; (f) no disruptive behavior; (g) another person similarly situated yet treated differently and (h) bruises.
Damn why am I so unlucky????