Today, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee stated that it would not allow people who were attending a public committee hearing to wear shirts, buttons, or stickers that expressed political messages. The following is a reaction from David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut:
“The Connecticut Judiciary Committee’s decision not to allow people to wear shirts, buttons, or stickers with political messages at legislative hearings is unreasonable and raises serious First Amendment concerns.
The Connecticut capitol is supposed to be the people’s house. When people walk into that house to lobby their legislators, they don’t leave their First Amendment rights at the door. Wearing a shirt, button, or sticker at a legislative hearing is a basic component of today’s political discourse. Buttons, shirts, and stickers do not interfere with other people’s abilities to lobby, testify, or otherwise participate in democracy. Buttons, shirts, and stickers with political messages help people to make their views known—something that legislators should encourage, not dismiss.”