Senator Tom Cotton: Arrest Abortion Activists Illegally Protesting at Justices Homes

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2022   |   10:38AM   |   Washington, DC

Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio today are calling on the Justice Department to arrest and prosecute abortion activists who are engaging in illegal protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices.

As LifeNews reported today, the U.S. Department of Justice will provide extra security to the U.S. Supreme Court justices and their families as pro-abortion protests and threats of violence grow. The order came from Attorney General Merrick Garland in response to demands that his office stop illegal intimidation and protests outside the justices’ homes after news broke last week about a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade.

But Cotton and Rubio say that’s not enough and that the leftists engaging in harassing and threatening protests outside the homes of justices like Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Altio are doing so illegally.

Cotton blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for the Justice Department not arresting the leftist protestors. In a letter to Garland, Cotton threatened impeachment proceedings if the attorney general didn’t “take immediate action to enforce the law even-handedly against your party’s political opponents.”

“Please explain why you have refused to enforce the federal law against picketing and protesting at the homes of Supreme Court Justices,” Cotton wrote Garland. “Left-wing mobs have recently targeted the homes of Justices (John) Roberts, (Samuel) Alito, (Clarence) Thomas, (Neil) Gorsuch, (Amy Coney) Barrett, and (Brett) Kavanaugh, a blatant and obvious violation of 18 USC § 1507.

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“These unlawful protestors widely publicized their plans, yet it appears that no federal law-enforcement officers were present to arrest the lawbreakers and no investigation is ongoing. Further, President Biden’s own press secretary announced this week that the Biden administration ‘certainly continue[s] to encourage (protests) outside of judges’ homes, and that’s the president’s position.’”

Senator Rubio agrees and sent his own letter to Garland.

“As you know, there is an ongoing, coordinated campaign of intimidation against the majority of the justices on the Supreme Court,” Rubio wrote. “The DOJ can no longer remain silent on this issue if it hopes to protect the integrity of the Supreme Court.… Will the DOJ commit to identifying and pursuing criminal charges against those who violate 18 U.S.C. § 1507? If not, why?.”

Dear Attorney General Garland:

I write with great concern to ask that the Department of Justice (DOJ) publicly condemn the ongoing and unlawful efforts to intimidate Supreme Court Justices. This includes disturbing and dangerous threats made toward the justices, and their families, outside of their homes. This behavior, and lack of DOJ enforcement against those who are violating federal law, is unacceptable.

In the past, you have opined on similar incidents, including in the October 4, 2021 DOJ memorandum, “Partnership among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement to address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” In that memo, you promised to address the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school-board administrators. You also state that the Constitution does not protect “threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals,” and that “threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.” You also pledged to use the DOJ’s authority to identify and pursue criminal charges against bad actors who commit such crimes. Of course, Supreme Court Justices are also public servants who deserve protection. So why have you remained silent while evidence mounts of a coordinated campaign to intimidate them as they consider Dobbs v. Jackson?

As you know, there is an ongoing, coordinated campaign of intimidation against the majority of the justices on the Supreme Court. It first took the form of an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion, and now, disguised as protestors, vigilantes have taken “justice” into their own hands. One group, “Ruth Sent Us,” has posted the home addresses of the justices’ online. Following the posting, streets in front of the justices’ homes have been filled by mobs of angry picketers, shouting threatening speech in scenes similar to the unhinged riots during the summer of 2020. Some have drawn hangers, symbolizing abortion, on the street pavement in front of the justices’ homes, while others have threatened, “if you take away our choices, we will riot.” Standing before the Supreme Court, one person yelled, “F*** it! Let’s burn this place down.” That call was amplified thousands of times on social media.

Worse yet, the Biden Administration is actively encouraging this behavior. This week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, “I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date” and “we certainly continue to encourage that, outside of judges’ homes, and that’s the President’s position.” Similarly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that the news surrounding Roe’s potential reversal “has to be a call to arms.” The comments made by the president’s staff and members of the Democratic Party threaten the safety of members of the Court. Those who act at their behest should be held to account as violating federal law, which is clearly laid out in 18 U.S.C. § 1507 and prohibits the picketing or parading outside of a residence occupied by “any judge, juror, witness or court officer” with the intent of influencing the “discharge of his duty.” These woke actors are not engaged in protected speech but instead attempting to intimidate Supreme Court Justices into submission.

The DOJ can no longer remain silent on this issue if it hopes to protect the integrity of the Supreme Court. As such, I ask for responses to the following questions:

  1. Is the DOJ investigating the doxing of U.S. Supreme Court Justices and how the locations of their homes were obtained?
  2. Will the DOJ commit to identifying and pursuing criminal charges against those who violate 18 U.S.C. § 1507? If not, why?
  3. Will the DOJ publicly condemn the activities outside of the Justices’ homes?

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

The protests are technically illegal in Virginia and the abortion activists should have been arrested.

According to the Code of Virginia, “Any person who shall engage in picketing before or about the residence or dwelling place of any individual, or who shall assemble with another person or persons in a manner which disrupts or threatens to disrupt any individual’s right to tranquility in his home, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.”

They’re also a violation of federal law.

Federal U.S. code 1507 prohibits individuals from protesting 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 or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer.” Violators face fines and/or imprisonment of up to a year.

Several churches have been vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti since the Supreme Court leak, including a Catholic church in Boulder, Colorado, another in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Catholic News Agency reports; and a third, the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. A Tabernacle also was stolen from Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy, Texas.

Police are investigating arson at two pro-life organizations in Wisconsin and Oregon, as well as vandalism at several pro-life pregnancy centers. Pro-life advocates also have shared videos and reports of being assaulted by abortion activists at rallies and events. And abortion advocates have threatened to bomb a church in New York City.

Alito, the author of the draft opinion, and his family were moved from their home to a secure location due to the threats of violence.

Meanwhile, some Democrat leaders have condoned the illegal activity.

“So long as they are peaceful, that’s OK with me,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Tuesday.

Similarly, President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the White House “encourages” the protests outside of the judges’ homes as long as they are peaceful.

In a letter to the attorney general Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, slammed the protests outside the justices’ homes as “flagrantly illegal.”

“Federal law makes it a crime for a person, ‘with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty,’ to ‘picket or parade … in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge.’ 18 U.S.C. §1507,” Hawley said.

In a separate letter to Garland on Wednesday, Republican Govs. Larry Hogan, of Maryland, and Glenn Youngkin, of Virginia, also urged the Justice Department to “provide sustained resources to protect the justices and ensure these residential areas are secure,” the Washington Times reports.

Since the draft ruling was leaked, pro-life advocates also have been the targets of arson, vandalism, assaults and threats all across the country.

At least two pro-abortion groups have been calling for churches, especially Catholic Churches, to be the target of abortion activists’ outrage. And one group posted the addresses of the Supreme Court justices online to urge people to protest outside their homes.

“The leaked draft memo that states the Supreme Court has struck down #RoeVWade is an ATROCITY but It is not yet law & doesn’t have to be, but what they plan to do & will do if WE don’t stop them. Rise up! & RAISE HELL!” the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights wrote on Twitter.

Abortion activists are trying to intimidate the Supreme Court justices to change their minds and uphold Roe after the leaked draft opinion showed the majority voting to overturn the infamous 1973 ruling. The draft is not final, judges can change their minds, and it is not clear when the high court will issue its final ruling on the abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, but many believe the court will overturn Roe and allow states to protect unborn babies again.

Polls consistently show that most Americans support stronger legal protections for unborn babies than what Roe allows. LifeNews highlighted 11 recent polls here. A new Rasmussen poll shows more Americans want Roe v. Wade overturned (48 percent) than want the ruling to remain in place (45 percent).

Since 1973, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.