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Decorum trumped message in the House of Representatives today when Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) was shouted down by the presiding officer and spirited off the floor by the sergeant-at-arms for wearing a hoodie.

As Rush began speaking against racial profiling, he removed his suit jacket to reveal the hoodie underneath, flipped up the hood and donned a pair of dark sunglasses. Immediately, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), acting as speaker, repeatedly banged his gavel and called Rush out of order.

But the congressman raised his voice and ignored the effort to silence him. He spoke in solidarity with "the young people all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the real hoodlums in this nation, particularly those who tread on our laws wearing official or quasi-official clothes. Racial profiling has to stop. Mr. Speaker, just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum." He then recited two Bible verses. He was still speaking as he was ushered away from the podium.

Harper invoked Clause 5 of House Rule 17, which forbids the wearing of hats in the chamber when the House is in session, and spoke words probably never before heard there: “Members need to remove their hoods or leave the floor.”

Thanks for making a fuss, Congressman Rush. Next time, could you talk some more about the real hoodlums in this nation, many of whom would never think of violating the dress code?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 08:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Your Government at Work, Black Kos community, and Daily Kos.

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