Even WaPo's Legal Experts Admit the Obvious About Protests At SCOTUS Justices' Homes

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Posted: May 11, 2022 2:25 PM
Even WaPo's Legal Experts Admit the Obvious About Protests At SCOTUS Justices' Homes

Source: AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Pro-abortion protests outside the homes of the conservative Supreme Court justices have increased in recent days after the court appears to be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade despite there being a federal law prohibiting protests outside the homes of judges.

Passed in 1950, 18 U.S. Code § 1507 states:

"Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

The Washington Post reached out to protest law experts who said the past and planned protests are in violation of the law:

"Tabatha Abu El-Haj, an expert on protest rights at Drexel University’s law school, said that the current protests at justices’ homes qualify under the statute and that the statute, if tested, would likely be found constitutional. "'The statute would seem to apply both because … they appear to be picketing and parading with the relevant intent and at the relevant locations,' Abu El-Haj said, 'but also because the statute has a catch-all ‘resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence.'" 

"Timothy Zick of the College of William & Mary agreed. 'The conduct appears to be within the statute’s prohibition,'" Zick said. 'Picketing includes activities such as demonstrating and protesting. The court has upheld properly tailored restrictions on pickets that target a particular home.'"

The homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Brett Kavanaugh, and Samuel Alito have been targeted in recent days with more protests at theirs and other conservative justices' homes planned.