WWII Memorial Reopened After Threat of Federal Lawsuit

World War II Memorial
Tourists visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, as the government shutdown continues into the weekend. (Reuters/Mike Theiler )

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a constitutional law firm based in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday that the National Park Service (NPS) decision to reopen the World War II Memorial in Washington for “First Amendment activities” is a significant constitutional victory for those who were barred from visiting this open-air memorial during the government shutdown. The decision comes just days after the ACLJ threatened to take the federal government to court if the constitutional rights of Americans continued to be violated.

“The decision to barricade the WWII Memorial—to keep individuals and veterans out—not only violated the First Amendment rights of Americans, it underscored the absurdity of the Obama administration’s decision to pick winners and losers in this government shutdown,” says Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ.

“We immediately put the federal government on notice—sent a demand letter to the National Park Service indicating that unless this memorial was reopened for First Amendment activities, we would file suit in federal court. This is a victory for the Constitution and common sense,” he says.

An ACLJ legal team—including Sekulow—was turned away by park police last week when it attempted to enter the WWII Memorial. Sekulow was actually escorted from the site. The team also witnessed other individuals, including war veterans, being turned away.

On Monday, the ACLJ sent a demand letter to the National Park Service outlining the numerous constitutional violations posed by shutting down the open-air memorial. The ACLJ letter put the National Park Service on notice that a federal lawsuit would be filed, and it demanded “that the NPS desist immediately from barring access to the World War II Memorial for all persons seeking to visit the Memorial.”

The ACLJ sent a Freedom of Information Act request Tuesday to discover the truth behind the Obama administration’s decision to close the WWII Memorial.

In a visit to the WWII Memorial Wednesday, an ACLJ legal team discovered that it was not only able to access the memorial, but the signage had been changed, noting that the memorial is now open “for First Amendment activities.”

In less than a week, the ACLJ heard from more than 65,000 Americans, demanding that the WWII Memorial be reopened.

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