Court Battles

Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh

The top Democratic and Republican members of a powerful Senate panel condemned a protest held Monday night outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, stating that public officials’ residences and families should be off limits.

The protest, organized by the liberal group ShutDownDC, came in response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote earlier this month to leave intact Texas’s new six-week abortion ban, which many legal experts see as a possible precursor to the further erosion of abortion rights. 

The protest route led to some 50 participants demonstrating outside the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Kavanaugh, which drew fire Tuesday from the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Politics ain’t beanbag. We all know that you have to have a tough mental hide to be in this business,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs the committee, during a panel hearing. “But it’s absolutely unacceptable, from my point of view, to involve any major public figure’s family or their home.” 

A spokesperson for the Supreme Court declined to comment.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s top Republican member, blasted what he characterized as an effort by “left wing activists” to undermine judicial independence.

“This protest looks like another blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary and anyone who disagrees with a radical agenda pushed by partisan advocates,” Grassley said.

ShutDownDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) also denounced the protesters’ methods.

“You can state your opinion of any one of us at the ballot box, you can write letters,” he said. “But to try to intimidate family or anything like that is wrong.”

Kavanaugh was among the five conservatives who voted earlier this month to reject an emergency request from abortion providers to block Texas’s controversial new law that bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which is typically around six weeks. 

Legal experts said the court’s move could foreshadow a more formal curtailment of reproductive rights when the 6-3 conservative majority court reviews Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in coming months.

Tags abortion ban Brett Kavanaugh Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin fetal heartbeat bill Maryland Patrick Leahy ShutdownDC Texas Texas abortion law
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