Nathan Howard/Getty Images
In a series of letters sent this weekend, the U.S. Supreme Court Marshal called on officials in Maryland and Virginia to “enforce” state and local laws that, she wrote, “prohibit picket prohibition outside the homes of Supreme Court justices.” “.
“For weeks, large groups of protesters have been chanting slogans, using megaphones and beating drums in the homes of Justices in Virginia,” Marshal Gail Curley wrote to Virginia Gov Glenn Youngkin. “This is exactly the kind of behavior that Virginia law forbids.”
Curley sent similar letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, along with several Maryland and Virginia officials.
Curley’s requests come after weeks of protests and picket action outside the homes of conservative court judges in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Roe v. Wade†
In June, police arrested an armed man near Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s home after the man called 911 to confess to being suicidal and having traveled to Maryland with the intent to harm him and Kavanaugh. He has since pleaded not guilty to a single charge of attempted murder of the judge.
Law enforcement officers, both federal and local, have been in the judges’ homes since the beginning of the protests. But the governors of Virginia and Maryland have previously said that the responsibility for managing the protests rests with federal law enforcement.
In a letter sent in May to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the two governors cited a federal law which explicitly forbids demonstrations in front of judges, and they urged Garland to enforce it.
Today, @GovernorVA and I have sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Justice Department to provide sufficient funds to protect Supreme Court justices and their families amid ongoing protests in their homes. pic.twitter.com/6D0bMGSp3q
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 11, 2022
Then, at Garland’s direction, the US Marshals Service “speeded up 24-hour security” at judges’ homes, the Justice Department said.
Yet protests have continued and intensified in recent days after the court’s conservative majority made a series of key decisions consistent with Republican political leanings on abortion, gun control and the government’s ability to tackle climate change. .
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Hogan expressed concerns about the First Amendment provisions cited by the Marshal, and he criticized what he described as the “continuous refusal of multiple federal entities to act” against the protests.
“Had the Marshal taken the time to investigate the matter, she would have been informed that the constitutionality of the statute cited in her letter has been questioned by the Maryland Attorney General,” Michael Ricci wrote in his response to curley.
“Amid it all, our state and local law enforcement agencies are on the front lines every day to protect these communities,” he said.
A spokesman for the governor of Virginia said Virginia law enforcement would continue to help, but called on Garland “to do his job by enforcing the much more robust federal law.”