Home News Federal Judge Denies Democrat's Lawsuit Seeking to Re-hang Painting Depicting Cops as Pigs

Federal Judge Denies Democrat’s Lawsuit Seeking to Re-hang Painting Depicting Cops as Pigs

April 19, 2017 at 11:55 am 25 News
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Painting, hung in Capitol Hill display by Democrat Rep. William Lacy Clay, St. Louis.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Rep. William Lacy Clay’s legal attempt to rehang a controversial painting on the wall of a tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol with a House office building.

John D. Bates, a judge in the District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that “Untitled #1,” a painting by former Cardinal Ritter College Prep student David Pulphus, was government speech, and therefore was legally removed by members of Congress who objected to its content.

The painting depicts police officers as animals and has symbolic references to the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson by police officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing in federal and state investigations, and the case touched off violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. It led the U.S. Justice Department under former President Barack Obama to impose reforms on Ferguson police and courts.

“There is little doubt that the removal of the painting was based on its viewpoint,” Bates wrote in his decision issued Friday.

But, he added: “Although the Court is sympathetic to plaintiffs given the treatment afforded Pulphus’ art, under controlling authority this case involves government speech, and hence plaintiffs have no First Amendment rights at stake.”

Clay, D-St. Louis, had sought an injunction against removal of the painting by the Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers. Pulphus’ painting was taken down on several occasions by Republican members of Congress, who said the art demeaned police and gave a false narrative of what happened in Ferguson. Ayers removed it in January after a formal complaint from Republicans.

Pulphus, now in college, has said the art “speaks for itself” as the experiences of a young black man seeing reports of the shooting deaths of black men by police.

The painting hung for seven months among more than 400 other student works in a Capitol Hill tunnel before conservative bloggers noticed and called for its removal because of its depiction of police officers.

Republicans successfully argued that the painting violated the annual art contest’s prohibition of art reflecting “subjects of contemporary political controversy,” or of “sensationalistic or gruesome nature.”

There was no immediate reaction from Clay on Monday. A lawyer who argued the case pro bono for Clay was on vacation in Hawaii and also did not comment.

Bates noted that at least two other paintings hanging among the 400 winners could be interpreted as violating the rules against political or “gruesome” images, but that he was being asked to rule on only Pulphus’.

And Bates said the fact that Clay did not establish that the Capitol tunnel was public space led to a legal finding that the painting constituted government speech, which does not have the protection of individuals’ speech.

Bates noted Clay’s unique position in the case: His lawsuit argued for a constituent’s First Amendment right, but Clay is also a member of the government that, the judge declared, had the right to take down the painting.

Competition rules, the judge wrote, “set up a hierarchy of decision-making authority with respect to content suitability: House members, by whatever method of judging they choose, select one winning piece from among the multiple works submitted to represent the district, but their choice may be overruled by the AOC if it concludes that the work does not meet the suitability guidelines.”

“In this case, Clay’s decision was overruled by the entity at the top of this decision tree, making his objections irrelevant for purposes of the government speech analysis.”

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(c)2017 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Federal Judge Denies Democrat’s Lawsuit Seeking to Re-hang Painting Depicting Cops as Pigs, 9.9 out of 10 based on 12 ratings

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25 Comments

  1. tyrone williams April 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Poor Congressional left wing cry babies needlessly cost U.S. taxpayers of lot of wasted time and legal expenses for this fictitious nonsense. The Congressional left wing cry babies should be personally reprimanded, fined, and charged double for wasting our tax dollars.

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    • sam236 April 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Well, the article does say the attorney representing Clay argued the case pro bono, so no taxpayer dollars would have been wasted on attorney’s fees. But why is Rep. Clay wasting his (taxpayer funded) time pursuing this issue when there is so much real work to do? The artist’s first amendment rights have not been violated–he’s free to create whatever he wants–but he doesn’t have the right to see his work displayed wherever he wants!

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    • tyrone williams April 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Clay’s pro bono (free) attorney fees are minuscule compared to the Judge’s time and salary, and all other court cost and staff associated with this absolute waste of time and energy over a piece of ficticious garbage.

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    • marines April 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      St. Louis LEOs, city and county, take note! Your Congressman thinks you are pigs. Show him how you aren’t because pigs couldn’t vote his sorry *@@ out of office next time!

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    • ltuser
      ltuser April 19, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      GOOD. This piece of excrement is only fitting for the trash heap. NOT to be hung in a high office like Congress’s halls.

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  2. Ron Long April 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    If Rep Clay has a problem of where to put this piece of garbage, here is a suggestion, remove it from the frame, roll it up and stick it up his rear end. Now he can pay for court fees as a cherry to top off his cake.

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  3. tws500 April 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    In things like this, it is apparent just what seems to be important to liberals: Insulting police, catering to their fellow liberals, using the court system to push the insults, wasting taxpayer money (tyrone williams), and alienating law-abiding citizens. Why is it that liberals are so focused on doing negative things and insulting others?

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    • ltuser
      ltuser April 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Because there is nothing positive about the liberal mantra. Ergo they can only run on hate and division..

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (6 votes cast)
  4. virginiagentleman April 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    One more Swamp goon down!

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  5. augustawinter April 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Do people like Clay ever consider that the deaths of young Black men like Michael Brown were caused by their own actions. I guess it is just to politically beneficial for Clay to play the police brutality card. What a crock, trying to make heroes of thugs.

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    • hereistand April 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      This affair is tragic, which can all be traced back to presumed entitlements. The bully decided he wanted the cigars, and he should have them! Then he beats up the shopkeeper, who was half his size, for interfering with his right to those cigars. Then he starts beating the policeman, and ends up getting killed by the officer. Of course the officer is exonerated due to the testimony of actual eyewitnesses of the incident. Then the riots start…”WHAT DO WE WANT? DEAD COPS! WHEN DO WE WANT THEM? NOW!” followed by the beatings, looting and burning. Then Policeman start being killed in all parts of the country while they are sitting in their cars. Then we find out that George Soros has been paying the rioters. Of course Obama is egging everything on. IMO: burn the painting and impeach the Congressman! Encouraging the killing of law enforcement officers is not upholding the Constitution.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser April 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      [Do people like Clay ever consider that the deaths of young Black men like Michael Brown were caused by their own actions]

      Nope. Cause to politician and race husslers like him, blacks are never at fault..

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  6. nuadha April 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    On what planet does this cruddy painting win a contest to be displayed at the capital!?

    It is about a third grade level of proficiency but was painted by a high school student. Once again you have someone getting selected not for ability but for political correctness.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a full scholarship to a prestigious fine arts school.

    Does anyone now wonder why the MLK jr statue had to be farmed out to a chinese artist?

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  7. bruceinaz1 April 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    “Stick a finger in whitey’s eye!” Typical racist objective.

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  8. FrankC April 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Commission a painting of the Congressional Black Caucus, depicting them as apes. Hang both paintings side by side. Problem solved.

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    • hereistand April 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      How is that going to undo the damage that has been done to race relations over the past 8 years. Isn’t there a law that carries a punishment for inciting riots? Is the person or persons, who pays money to “sponsor” the riots, actually guilty of inciting riots or public unrest? Should a multi Billionaire who puts up the money to fund the civil disorders be charged and arrested for inciting these riots? From what I’ve read we should be taking a look at George Soros. Bearing in mind that the people that the black community suffers from the riots. There were many black business owners who were burned out of business. People of limited means make easy marks for the wealthy to use to push their agendas .

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    • ltuser
      ltuser April 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      [ Isn’t there a law that carries a punishment for inciting riots? Is the person or persons, who pays money to “sponsor” the riots, actually guilty of inciting riots or public unrest]

      Do we have those laws.. YES and yes…

      However we don’t currently have anyone who is bloody well ENFORCING them… Let’s hope now Sessions is in the hot seat that changes.

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  9. MaD dOG April 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Winning!!

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  10. randy822 April 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    You mean to tell me there is a Federal Judge with honor and sense?

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  11. Jim Gould April 19, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Clay is showing a racist detestable view, thank God the truth prevails. Let him hang the *** on his wall at home.

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  12. joe23006
    joe23006 April 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    The Capitol is no place for racist or any other sort of propaganda. Rep. Clay can hang his feelings on his sleeve but not on the walls of Congress or in his office, or on his own door if permitted to demonstrate his position on the subject, if he did not agree he would not have hung it. As to being art???? It seems to be a hodge-podge of ideas that do not coalesce. German art under the Nazis was propaganda drawing heavily on the Norse past, Soviet art was even stricter in that included music, ballet, and opera eschewing the decadent past for the glorious revolution. This is about ‘hate speech’ and not ‘free speech’ as some have tried to portray it; a picture depicting a BLM group killing policemen and barbequeing them wrapped in bacon would be just as odious.
    I doubt few police see the color of the skin, though there may some who are racist, but see the crime that is being committed. President Obama and and his Attornies General destroyed the trust between races by insinuating race into every incident before the facts were even know.

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  13. hereistand April 19, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Well if we do have laws that makes paying to incite riots, perhaps we should write to A.G. Sessions and ask him to look into this matter.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser April 20, 2017 at 1:46 am

      I have already sent several emails to the DOJ.. Asking just that..

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  14. Srini Varadarajan
    Srini Varadarajan April 20, 2017 at 12:34 am

    God bless John D Bates — for still having some molecules of sense left after being in the Dominion of Crime for so long!

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  15. sirvandov April 20, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    For a Law maker to Hang such stupid Graffittee picture Depicting Police Officers as Pigs,is a new Low . And for all other Democrats who support such idiots like this Moron Rep. William Clay. Sad, only shows how Angry these Democrats are,they Hate our Country. They Should move out , to a Communist country of they’re choice. NO one is holding them here. FREEDOM.

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