The marshal of the Supreme Court requested law enforcement officials in Virginia and Maryland to use laws on the books there to prohibit picketing outside of the homes of Supreme Court justices in the wake of the high court overturning the right to abortion.
In letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Gail Curley, the Supreme Court marshal, asked the officials to enforce state law banning the residential protests.
Ms. Curley said both states have laws that prohibit the conduct and allow for criminal charges.
“Earlier this week, for example, 75 protesters loudly picketed at one Justice’s home in Montgomery County for 20-30 minutes in the evening, then proceeded to picket at another Justice’s home for 30 minutes, where the crowd grew to 100, and finally returned to the first Justice’s home to picket for another 20 minutes,” Ms. Curley wrote. “This is exactly the kind of conduct that the Maryland and Montgomery County laws prohibit.”
The letters were sent Friday, but the Supreme Court shared them with some reporters Saturday.
Both governors had previously raised concerns over the protests in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in May. They requested federal law enforcement to uphold federal law that bans protesting with the intent to influence a judge’s ruling.
Hogan spokesperson Michael Ricci said, due to the refusal from the feds to act, “the governor has directed Maryland State Police to further review enforcement options.”
Youngkin spokesperson Christian Martinez said he’s been in contact with the justices and local police to ensure the justices’ safety, but pushed for federal help.
“Additionally, the Attorney General of the U.S. should do his job by enforcing the much more robust federal law,” Mr. Martinez’s statement reads.
A spokesperson from the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pro-choice protesters have been gathering outside the homes of the conservative justices since news broke in May that the high court planned to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade, which gave women a national right to abortion.
They use loudspeakers and play music, chanting “No privacy for us, no peace for you.”
Last month, the high court did overrule the historic case and sent the abortion issue back to the state legislators.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said nearly a half-century of trying to make Roe work has proved futile, with Americans still sharply divided. Failing in both legal scholarship and its goal of settling passions, he said it’s time to cast the decision aside.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” he wrote. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
The justices were weighing Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Before the final ruling was announced, a California man traveled to Maryland and was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, saying he had planned to kill the justice. He said he was angry over the upcoming abortion decision and increased mass shootings.
Nicholas John Roske, the 26-year-old from Simi Valley, California, was charged with attempting to murder a Supreme Court justice and pleaded not guilty.
• This article was based in part on wire service reports.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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