ACLJ Obtains Victory in Lawsuit Against National Archives Over Forcing Pro-Lifers To Cover Up Pro-Life Shirts or Be Kicked Out of the Museum Housing the Constitution and Bill of Rights on the Day of the March for Life


Jordan Sekulow

December 19, 2023

4 min read

Pro Life



On the day of the March for Life, several government institutions targeted pro-lifers, kicking them out or forcing them to remove or cover up pro-life attire in violation of their First Amendment free speech rights. The ACLJ has just won a major victory in one of those cases against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

As we reported earlier this year, following the ACLJ’s filing of a lawsuit against the National Archives (a federally funded institution) for targeting pro-life visitors, the National Archives promptly agreed to enter into a preliminary injunction essentially barring it from targeting pro-life visitors again. The National Archives also quickly requested that the parties gather for mediation in an attempt to resolve the lawsuit.

Ironically, the National Archives is the home of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, commonly referred to as the “Charters of Freedom.” On January 20, 2023, our clients – a grandmother, a law student, and a high school student at a Catholic school – all visited the National Archives at different times that day to view these documents. To our clients’ horror, each was told by armed guards to take off their religious, pro-life apparel or leave the museum.

When one of our clients questioned the order, a National Archives security officer said that the apparel would “incite others” and that she was “disturbing peace.” Yet another one of our clients was told that her T-shirt was “offensive” and had to be covered up or removed. Her shirt read simply, “MARCH 4 LIFE 2014: Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group, Glen Carbon, IL.”

As we told you, at the start of mediation, our clients’ objective was to find out who was responsible for the targeting, how and why it happened, and to ensure that something like this does not happen again. We have achieved just that.

In documents filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the National Archives’ Chief of Management outlined the investigation conducted into the targeting of our clients following the events on January 20, 2023. The NARA official’s affidavit provided details about who was responsible for the targeting (a security guard hired by NARA and employed by Allied Universal) and outlined steps taken by NARA officials to ensure this doesn’t happen again and additional training provided to security officers. In addition, the official investigation into the targeting is detailed in a report released by NARA and conducted by security for NARA, Allied Universal. Much of the “who,” “what,” and “how” is documented by Allied in this report.

In addition, the National Archives expressed regret regarding the events of January 20, 2023, and affirmed that plaintiffs never should have been asked to remove or cover articles of clothing expressing their religious and other beliefs.

The National Archives will also pay each of our clients a monetary sum in acknowledgment of the violation of plaintiffs’ rights and the harm caused to them. Our clients will also be granted special access to security video of the events that transpired at the National Archives on the day in question to confirm for themselves certain representations that have been made by NARA officials.

Finally, the National Archives has entered into a Consent Order and is “ENJOINED” from prohibiting visiting members of the public to NARA facilities from wearing attire containing religious and political speech. All NARA personnel, volunteers, museum staff, etc., at every single NARA facility across the country will be provided with a copy of the Consent Order.

This is an especially important victory, as one month from today, pro-life Americans will once again gather in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. Our victory today ensures that they will be free from harassment and that their First Amendment rights will be protected should they choose to visit the National Archives and view the very documents that protect those sacred rights.

At the ACLJ, we will be vigilant because the National Archives was not the only federal institution to engage in this unlawful discrimination against pro-lifers. We stand ready and able to defend the First Amendment rights of pro-lifers in our nation’s capital next month. If you or your children are discriminated against in a federal building because of your pro-life or religious views, please reach out to us at We are working to ensure that no federal institution can target and discriminate against pro-lifers – especially on the day of the March for Life.