Cindy Sheehan's arrest, sloganeering, the SOTU, and purple fingers

Cindy Sheehan's much-prized First Amendment rights might not have been violated (nofollowpolicy) when she was arrested at last night's State of the Union. It's apparently a misdemeanor to engage in sloganeering and the like inside the Capitol building.

In fact:

The wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, told a newspaper that she was ejected during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt that says, "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."


In the early days of the Senate's impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in January 1999, a Pennsylvania man named Dave Delp was removed by the Capitol police from the Senate gallery for wearing a t-shirt that said, "Clinton doesn't inhale, he sucks."

However, it doesn't take much to recall a similar case in which people should have been ejected but obviously were not. From a 2005 SOTU live-blogging:

Just saw the first purple fingers being raised; all were on their feet applauding.

Sounds a bit like sloganeering to me.

UPDATE: It looks like the Capitol Police arrested her on what might end up being a specious charge:

Capitol Police charged her with a misdemeanor for violating the District of Columbia's code against unlawful or disruptive conduct on any part of the Capitol grounds, a law enforcement official said.

In fact, while she might have intended to disrupt the proceedings, it doesn't appear at this time that she did. And, they dropped the charges and released her. And, of course:

Sheehan said she had one arm out of her coat when an officer yelled, "Protester." She said she intended to file a First Amendment lawsuit over the episode.