GOP Congressman’s Wife Claims Ejected from SOTU

Beverly Young, wife of Republican Congressman Bill Young, claims she was ejected from the State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt.

The wife of Representative C-W- Bill Young says she was ejected during President Bush’s State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt that says, “Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom.”


Beverly Young says she was sitting in the front row of the House gallery last night when she was approached by someone who told her she needed to leave. She says she reluctantly agreed, but argued with several officers in an outside hallway. In a telephone interview with the newspaper, Young said she told them her shirt wasn’t a protest but a message of support.

Capitol Police Sergeant Kimberly Schneider says Young wasn’t ejected from the gallery and she left on her own. She couldn’t provide additional details.

Young’s husband is a Republican from Indian Shores. He found out about the incident after Bush’s speech and called it unacceptable.

One wonders what would possess a Congressman’s wife to show up for a major address wearing a t-shirt. Regardless, there’s something awry with this story.

Via Florida Masochist, who has been covering Mrs. Young’s antics for some time.

Update: The On Tap Boys agree that wearing t-shirts to see SOTU is uncouth and rather bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. David Harris says:

    Sounds like the age-old issue. It’s not a “protest” if it’s a stance YOU agree with. Without knowing details, I’d actually applaud the consistent application of the rules in this situation. If Cindy Sheehan’s shirt isn’t allowed inside, neither should Mrs. Young’s.

  2. Mark says:

    James, after reading the article, I would hardly think “antics” is a kind word to describe Mrs. Young’s actions…

  3. McGehee says:

    If Cindy SheehanÂ’s shirt isnÂ’t allowed inside, neither should Mrs. YoungÂ’s.

    Which is, apparently, the rule as it has stood since long before the present administration.

    From what I’ve read, having the t-shirt gets you asked to leave. Refusing to leave when asked gets you arrested.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Mark: Mostly, I just mean that she doesn’t behave in a manner one expects of a congressional wife.

  5. Anderson says:

    Note that the no T-shirts rule is said to be illegal.

    That action was taken pursuant to the U.S. Code, in which Congress decreed as follows: “It shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons wilfully and knowingly . . . to parade, demonstrate or picket within any Capitol Building.” 140 U.S.C. § 193(f)(b)(7).

    As the Bynum court explained: “Believing that the Capitol Police needed guidance in determining what behavior constitutes a ‘demonstration,’ the United States Capitol Police Board issued a regulation that interprets ‘demonstration activity,'” and that regulation specifically provides that it “does not include merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message. Traffic Regulations for the Capitol Grounds, § 158” (emphasis added).

    Though I would wonder whether the Capitol Police Board didn’t amend its regulations after the 1997 Bynum decision. Damn if I know where to find the latest version.

  6. Anderson says:

    Though I would wonder whether the Capitol Police Board didnÂ’t amend its regulations after the 1997 Bynum decision.

    Hey, evidently not:

    Capitol Police did not explain why Sheehan was arrested and Young was not. However, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer was asking the U.S. attorney’s office to drop the charge against Sheehan, according to Deputy House Sergeant of Arms Kerri Hanley.

    “They were operating under the misguided impression that the T-shirt was not allowed,” Hanley said Wednesday. “The fact that she (Sheehan) was wearing a T-shirt is not enough reason to be asked to leave the gallery or be removed from the gallery or be arrested.”

    I dunno, y’all … does Cindy Sheehan seem like the kind who would sue over this? Tough call …

  7. Herb says:


    There you go again. way out in left field.

    Ms Young was not a troublemakes and Cindy is nothine is a troublemaker.

    See, that was easy, wasn’t it?

    A t-Shirt sign is not the proper wear for a “State of the Union” gathering. It’s tacky.

  8. Capitol Police Apologize, Drop Charge against Sheehan.

  9. Ginifer says:

    Beverly Young sounds like a great supporter for the injured military personnel. It’s great that she speaks her mind and doesn’t let anyone push her around.

    She doesn’t support the war, but at least she is doing everything she can to help the soldiers who have been wounded. You really have to admire her for that.

    As far as the tee-shirt incidents with her and Cindy Sheehan – much ado about nothing. Neither should have been arrested.

    Let’s all admit it, Sheehan is a publicity seeker and is not helping the soldiers by acting and speaking like a loon. She’d be much better off if she acted rational and with thought. She’s her own worst enemy.

  10. Anderson says:

    Herb’s America: where arresting someone who’s not breaking the law is A-OK, provided she’s a “troublemaker.”

    FWIW, I’m not a Sheehan fan; the ranch vigil was okay, but her 15 minutes are up, and she holds too many wacky views for my tastes. But god knows, she’s dealing better with the loss of her son in Bush’s War than I would.