House GOP says protesting outside justices’ homes is illegal
Top House Republicans accused the White House and Democrats of encouraging illegal activity, asserting that recent pro-abortion-rights protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices are unlawful.
“I’m disappointed that this White House is still encouraging people to break federal law and go and protest in front of the houses of Supreme Court justices, as Jen Psaki encouraged yesterday,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Protesters have gathered at the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Samuel Alito in recent days over a leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
“It is unlawful — it is against the law in this country to protest a sitting judge,” said House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (N.Y.). “We want to maintain the independence of our courts. And the fact that that is being encouraged by this administration is shameful. It’s unconstitutional. It’s meant to intimidate the justices.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday encouraged protesters outside of justices’ homes to stay peaceful.
“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,” Psaki said.
Last week, she said that “peaceful protest is not extreme” when asked about planned protests outside justice’s homes.
A federal law prohibits “pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” when it is “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.”
Stefanik added that the comments coming from the White House “should outrage every single American. What makes Republicans consistent is we speak out against violent acts no matter who commits them.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also suggested on Tuesday that the protests are unlawful.
“Tying to scare federal judges in ruling a certain way is far outside the bounds of First Amendment speech or protest. It is an attempt to replace the rule of law with the rule of mobs. It appears this may possibly be flat-out illegal,” McConnell said.
The Senate on Monday passed a bill to boost security for members of the Supreme Court and their immediate family members.
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