Calls for Violence Pose a Threat to Justices Everywhere
Maryland police foiled a plot to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The 26-year-old would-be perpetrator was arrested near the justice’s home, and was discovered to have a gun, a knife, pepper spray, zip ties, and intent to kill both the justice and himself. The chilling details in the FBI affidavit disclose that, in his anguish over the Uvalde school shooting and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the man admitted that “he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the internet.”
Protestors have ramped up their efforts to vocalize their support for legalized abortion in light of the Dobbs draft leak one month ago, some even resorting to violent measures. In fact, it has become nearly commonplace to find protestors outside of each of the five conservative-leaning justices’ homes. From a rally headed up by Kavanaugh’s neighbor, to activist group ShutDownDC’s protest at Alito’s house, to women dressed in “Handmaid’s Tale” garb in Barrett’s neighborhood telling her to “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries,” there is speculation in Washington that those who disagree with the potential Supreme Court decision have forgotten that the right to peacefully protest does not include someone’s private property. In fact, it is a federal offense.
In May, Former Attorney General Bill Barr went on Fox and told Jesse Watters that showing up at Supreme Court justices’ homes is an illegitimate and illegal form of protest. “There is a time and place for protests,” Barr explains, “and the federal statute makes it clear that if you go to the house of a judge, the residence of a judge, to influence the judge in his decisions, and demonstrate, that’s a federal crime, and it’s a state crime in the state of Virginia, at least.”
“So, those are not valid forms of protest,” he continued. “They are obviously meant to intimidate. There is a parallel between January 6, which Republican leadership condemned the violence there. The forceful entry into the Capitol and the fighting with police. But what was really bad about that was it was an attempt to intimidate the Senate and the vice president in carrying out their duties. What’s happening now, while not as much violence has been involved yet, it’s no different. It’s an attempt to interfere and to intimidate the officials who are carrying out their duties under the Constitution.”
It turns out, most Americans across the aisle agree with Barr’s assertion. A recent poll posed the question to respondents, “Do you believe that publishing the home addresses of the five U.S. Supreme Court justices and calling for protests at their private homes is an acceptable way to protest the high court’s upcoming decision on Roe v. Wade?” The results showed an overwhelming 75.8% (66.6% of Democrats, 86.5% of Republicans, 75.1% of Independents) disapproving of these private property protests.
Yet, the air is tense on Capitol Hill, and many credit the rhetoric coming from top Democrats for inciting continued violence and disruption. One example includes an untimely resurfaced video from 2020 of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a pro-abortion rally yelling, “I want to tell you Gorsuch! I want to tell you Kavanaugh! You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
In an effort to secure the justices amidst further threats of violence and illegal forms of protest, the Senate unanimously passed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act over a month ago, which would provide more police protection for the justices and their immediate families. As of Wednesday, in a confounding move, House Democrats quickly blocked the bill from passage, the same day as Kavanaugh’s attempted assassin was arrested. Senators across the aisle have expressed their concern that the House has not passed the bill — from Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“House Democrats must pass this bill and they need to do it today,” McConnell demanded on the floor in response to the blockade. “No more fiddling around with this — they need to pass it today. They need to stop their multiweek blockade against the Supreme Court security bill and pass it before the sun sets today.”
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) took to Twitter to remind Americans, “This is the same party whose heated rhetoric has encouraged political pressure on conservative justices.” He went on to quote former White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s public support of the illegal protests, where she stated, “I know that there is an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly do continue to encourage that outside judges homes, and that’s the president’s position.”
President Biden’s Wednesday evening appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” reaffirmed the White House’s encouragement of escalated protests, “It’s clear that if, in fact, the decision comes down the way it does and these states impose the limitations they’re talking about, it’s going to cause a mini-revolution. They’re going to vote a lot of these folks out of office.”
With the mounting pressure from leaders in both parties, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has responded that the House will be voting on the Supreme Court security bill next week.
As Americans have watched many breaches of the sitting Supreme Court justices’ security, many have called on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to uphold the law and protect the Supreme Court Justices amidst the Dobbs-related disturbances.
In a formal letter to the DOJ, Senator Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) remarked, “This behavior, and lack of DOJ enforcement against those who are violating federal law, is unacceptable.”
Family Research Council publicly called on the DOJ to “investigate [the] cases of intimidation of the Judiciary. Prosecute those who violate federal law… enforce the law and protect the Justices, their families, and the U.S. Judicial system.”
With only a few more SCOTUS decision days left in June, pro-lifers and pro-abortionists alike are on the edge of their seats awaiting the final Dobbs decision.
Marjorie Jackson is a reporter for The Washington Stand and FRC's Digital Media Specialist.