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Supreme Court Marshal Asks Officials to End Protests at Justices’ Homes

WASHINGTON — The chief safety officer of the Supreme Court has requested that Virginia and Maryland officers implement legal guidelines that might prohibit protests exterior the properties of Supreme Court justices after weeks of demonstrations favoring abortion rights.

In 4 letters despatched to Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland; Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia; Jeffrey McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; and Marc Elrich, the Montgomery County government, the Supreme Court marshal, Gail A. Curley, cited protests and “threatening activity” in her request.

After a leaked draft opinion in early May confirmed that the courtroom’s conservative majority was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which assured a constitutional proper to an abortion, protesters regularly gathered outside the homes of those justices to denounce the choice. The courtroom formally issued its opinion in late June.

“Protesters gathered outside one Justice’s Fairfax County home chanting expletives, and dozens appeared outside another’s Fairfax County home chanting ‘no privacy for us, no peace for you!’” learn the letter to Mr. Youngkin, which was despatched on Saturday. “This is exactly this kind of conduct that Virginia law prohibits.”

The legal guidelines cited by Ms. Curley are each state and native ordinances that might prohibit varied sorts of demonstrations exterior of personal residences with sure exceptions, however it’s unclear whether or not protesters have essentially violated the legal guidelines.

In one in every of her letters, Ms. Curley additionally referred to the arrest final month of a California man who was discovered with a pistol and different weapons close to the Chevy Chase, Md., residence of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Federal officers stated the person deliberate to break into the justice’s residence to kill him and have charged him with attempted murder.

On the night of June 24, after the Supreme Court ended practically 50 years of abortion rights, a small crowd chanted, sang and banged pots and pans on the quiet road in Burke, Va., the place Justice Clarence Thomas lives. The police barricaded your complete block. Protesters also appeared exterior the house of Justice Kavanaugh, seemingly outnumbered by law enforcement officials, and safety vans had been seen guarding the home of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in Alexandria, Va.

The protests prompted by the leaked draft opinion intensified issues in regards to the security of the justices, and a fence was erected across the Supreme Court constructing in response to demonstrations.

Last month, the House rapidly handed a invoice that might extend police protection to the speedy households of Supreme Court justices. The Senate has already handed the laws, and it awaits President Biden’s signature.

All six of the Republican-appointed justices reside in rich enclaves in Fairfax County, Va., and Montgomery County, Md., which border Washington.

Mr. Elrich, the Fairfax County official, stated in a press release that he didn’t have any file of a letter from Ms. Curley, however he criticized her request, saying that the federal authorities was primarily accountable for making certain the protection of justices and their households.

“It is very troubling that the court would take this approach,” Mr. Elrich stated. “If the marshal is concerned about security, then she and her staff should communicate directly with our police chief, myself, and my staff rather than having a letter released to the press.”

In a press release, the Fairfax County Police Department stated it was accountable for defending the general public, together with three justices, and safeguarding the constitutional proper of individuals to protest. It was “well versed” on the legal guidelines that govern protests, it stated, including that it had a unit particularly “trained to help crowds that gather to express their views.”

Both Mr. Youngkin and Mr. Hogan have beforehand expressed concern in regards to the protests.

In assertion posted to Twitter on Saturday, the communications director for Mr. Hogan stated “the governor has directed Maryland State Police to further review enforcement options that respect the First Amendment and the Constitution.” He added that the Justice Department had declined a request from Mr. Hogan to implement federal statutes prohibiting protesting at the justices’ residences.

Sadie Kuhns, a frontrunner of Our Rights DC, a company created by protesters in May that has organized greater than 30 protests exterior the house of the conservative justices, stated the group has not seen a regulation enforcement response to its demonstrations and has no plans to cease.

“These six people have control over millions of people’s lives. And if the only thing we can do is exercise our First Amendment rights outside of their homes peacefully, that’s what we’re going to do,” Ms. Kuhns stated. “It empowers people.”

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