A number of Senate Republicans are blasting inaction by Attorney General Merrick Garland to fully protect Supreme Court justices and their families after pro-abortion activists descended on their homes this week.
"While every American enjoys the right to peaceably assemble and to express their opinion, these protests appear to go beyond lawful exercise by impeding the orderly administration of justice, and have no doubt disrupted the lives of these justices and their families. I urge you to take any action necessary, including consideration of 18 U.S.C § 1507, to protect the justices, their families, and the independence of the federal judiciary. You have both the duty and the jurisdiction to do so," Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lindsey Graham wrote in a letter to Garland. "Intervention to protect the lawful functioning of the Supreme Court is warranted under federal statutory law. In 1950, Congress passed into law 18 U.S.C. § 1507, which prohibits picketing, parades or any other demonstrations outside federal courts or the homes of federal judges and justices that are conducted “with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness or court officer, in the discharge of his duty.”
My letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland pressing him to protect Supreme Court justices from threats of violence and protests taking place outside their residences. pic.twitter.com/egYBV9KIi1— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 10, 2022
"Non-violent protests in front of the Supreme Court building are one thing, but protesting at the home of a justice is beyond the pale. Protests at a person’s home carry with them the implicit threat of violence and can be designed to stoke fear for their personal and their families’ safety," he continued.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley wrote a separate letter, also calling on Garland to enforce the law.
"Across the nation, radical pro-abortion activists have begun a campaign of violence, destruction, and intimidation in response to the leak of a draft document from the Supreme Court. You must vigorously investigate and prosecute the crimes committed in recent days. The rule of law demands no less," Hawley said. "This conduct has only one purpose: intimidation. It is also flagrantly illegal."
"The First Amendment is no shield to this illegal conduct. Those upset by the leaks have plenty of places to protest that do not involve intimidation and do not place the Justices and their families at risk," he continued.
The letters were sent after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, was moved away from his primary home.
Earlier this week, the Senate voted to provide justices with additional security.
By unanimous consent, Senate ok’s bill to beef up security at the Supreme Court. Grants the Supreme Court security related authorities equivalent to the legislative and executive branch.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 9, 2022
Meanwhile, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has requested additional security for justices living in Virginia.
Glenn Youngkin Requests Local Police Establish 'Security Perimeter’ Around SCOTUS Justices’ Homes https://t.co/RLxpQKRhK4— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) May 11, 2022