Restaurants kicking out Trump supporters: Unlike race or religion, it’s legal

People in Lexington, Virginia give their opinion after the owner of the “Red Hen” in Lexington asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. Camille Fine, USA TODAY

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to Twitter after she was refused service at a restaurant whose owner disapproved of some of the Trump administration’s most controversial policies.

But it appears Sanders probably can’t take the owner to court.

While they can vent their outrage on social media or to anyone else who will listen, restaurant customers ushered to the door because the management disagrees with their politics generally can’t take their complaints to court unless there’s a local law specifically barring such treatment.

“Unless you are a member of a protected class, you don’t have rights in a court of law if you are asked to leave a restaurant,” says Reginald Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Your only recourse may be the court of public opinion.”

Last Friday, the owner of the Lexington, Virginia, restaurant, The Red Hen, asked Sanders to leave. Noting that Sanders had defended the administration’s immigration policy and other divisive positions, Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post that “the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty and compassion and cooperation.”

Wilkinson’s action ignited a firestorm on social media. Trump critics applauded the move. Trump supporters denounced it. Others lamented what they deemed another sign of the country’s descent into incivility.

It also sparked questions about whether…

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