ACLJ Files Federal Lawsuit Against Smithsonian Museum for Kicking Out Christian Students for Wearing Pro-Life Hats

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has just filed a major lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia against the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for violating the First Amendment by kicking out a group of Christian students for wearing pro-life hats. The ACLJ is representing 9 students and 3 parents who were unlawfully targeted for their religious pro-life views on January 20, 2023. 

As reported at and major news outlets including Fox News, students from a Catholic school in Greenville, South Carolina, traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National March for Life. After the event, they went over to explore the nearby Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Once inside the federal museum, they were accosted several times and told they would be forced to leave unless they removed their pro-life hats. The group all wore the same blue hat that simply said, “Rosary PRO-LIFE.” Other individuals in the museum were wearing hats of all kinds without issue.

The museum staff mocked the students, called them expletives, and made comments that the museum was a “neutral zone” where they could not express such statements. In the complaint, ACLJ provides more detail of how upwards of five museum staff and security officers accosted, berated, and eventually kicked out these students.

Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ’s Executive Director, says: "What the Smithsonian did is beyond reprehensible. These were students simply wearing a hat that passively expressed their support for life on the basis of their Christian faith. The way these students, many of whom were minors, were treated by their federal government – the Smithsonian and its employees – should shock everyone to the core. It’s not only abhorrent; it’s blatantly unconstitutional. And that’s why we’re fighting back."

The lawsuit brings claims under the First Amendment (free speech), Fifth Amendment (equal protection), and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The ACLJ is asking the court to order the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to ensure that this type of unconstitutional discrimination against pro-life free speech never happens again. 

Read the full complaint here

About ACLJ: The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on the preservation and defense of constitutional rights, is based in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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