Democrats are warning against violent protests after abortion-rights demonstrators gathered this weekend outside the homes of two Supreme Court justices.
What You Need To Know
- Democrats are warning against violent protests after abortion-rights demonstrators gathered this weekend outside the homes of two Supreme Court justices
- According to Bloomberg, nearly 100 people held a protest on a rainy Saturday evening outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland house and then marched to Chief Justice John Roberts’ home nearby
- There were no reports of violence during the gatherings, but more demonstrations are planned for this week
- Republicans have condemned protests at justices’ homes
According to Bloomberg, nearly 100 people held a protest on a rainy Saturday evening outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland house and then marched to Chief Justice John Roberts’ home nearby. CNN also shared video of protesters gathering outside of their homes.
They were protesting a draft opinion, leaked last week, that indicated a majority of the Supreme Court could soon overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the constitutional right to abortion. The Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the document but stressed the draft does not represent a final ruling.
The protesters chanted, “Abortion rights are human rights,” “The whole world is watching!” and “Pro-life is a lie! You don’t care if people die!”
Some held signs calling for Kavanaugh to resign. One women’s sign read: “It’s never been about ‘babies’ — it’s about stealing our BODILY AUTONOMY.”
There were no reports of violence during the gatherings, although protesters reportedly encountered police, who instructed them to disperse after they returned to Kavanaugh’s home.
Groups are planning other demonstrations at justices’ homes this week. ShutDownDC on Monday night outside is holding a “vigil” outside Justice Samuel Alito’s home for abortion rights and other freedoms it believes are threatened by the draft opinion, which Alito wrote.
“Justice Alito thinks he can take away our rights,” ShutDown DC tweeted. “But our rights are fundamentally ours. We’re showing up to tell him in person.”
Another group, Ruth Sent Us — a reference to late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — is planning walk-by protests Wednesdays at “the homes of the six extremist justices, three in Virginia and three in Maryland.”
According to Politico, which first published the leaked opinion, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas voted with Alito and Kavanaugh. All were nominated to the court by Republican presidents. It’s unclear what position Roberts, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, might take.
Last week, Ruth Sent Us posted a Google map showing where the six conservative justices live. By Monday, the map on the group’s website had been replaced by a message from a Google saying it “is no longer available due to a violation of our Terms of Services and/or policies.”
Democrats have urged protesters to keep demonstrations peaceful.
“.@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Monday morning. “But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”
In an interview with “Fox New Sunday,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said: “No one should be threatening violence against any Supreme Court Justice or member of Congress. I’ll be honest, I’ve had protests right around the corner from my house over the course of my time in public service. But any threats of violence are beyond the pale.”
Republicans have condemned protests at justices’ homes. At a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the practice has “no place in our republic.”
“You go to the home of a public official to protest, that is an implicit threat,” Lee said. “You show up where someone sleeps and raises children, that’s an implicit threat of physical violence. We deserve better than this.”
Asked by Lee if he thought it was appropriate for demonstrators to gather outside someone’s home, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the committee’s chairman, said he did not.
“I don’t care for people who do it to my home, and they have,” Durbin said. “I’m sure you don’t, either. There is no place for that, as far as I’m concerned. And I think it is demeaning and adolescent and not convincing at all when you’re trying to plead your case by doing something that outrageous.”
Last week, Psaki, however, sidestepped a question about protests at justices’ homes.
“I don’t have an official U.S. government position on where people protest,” she said. “We want it, of course, to be peaceful. And certainly, the president would want people’s privacy to be respected.”
Lacie Wooten-Holway, Kavanaugh's neighbor who organized Saturday’s protest, told Bloomberg: “The time for civility is over, man. Being polite doesn’t get you anywhere.”
The Supreme Court did not respond to a request Monday seeking comment on the protests.
Protesters also have flocked to the Supreme Court since the draft opinion was leaked.
Work crews last week erected a tall, non-scalable fence around the building, similar to the fence installed around the Capitol following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot there.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced legislation last week that would extend security protection to the families of Supreme Court justice.