DOJ silent on abortion protests at justices’ homes despite federal law prohibiting ‘pickets’ to influence case
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The Department of Justice is remaining silent on continued protests by abortion activists outside conservative Supreme Court justices’ homes, despite a federal law that makes it illegal to attempt to “influence” federal officials and the outcome of a court case.
The pro-abortion protestors are targeting the private homes of the six Republican-appointed justices after the leak last week of a draft opinion signaled the Supreme Court intends to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.
Federal U.S. code 1507, states that any individual who “pickets or parades” 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” near a U.S. court or “near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” will be fined, or “imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
Despite the language included in the federal statute, Attorney General Merrick Garland has not issued a public statement addressing the protests outside conservative justices’ homes. And the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Garland’s silence and the reason why protestors have not been arrested.
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According to senior fellow at the National Review Institute and Fox News contributor Andy McCarthy, the Biden DOJ is being silent on this for the same reason as the White House: “They are elevating their political interest in portraying the draft Supreme Court opinion as extreme over their constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully and protect both the Court and the justices.”
“I would note that months ago, when Attorney General Garland unjustifiably dispatched the FBI to investigate parents who were protesting the inclusion of racist and anti-American materials in school curricula, Garland claimed that the Justice Department had an interest in protecting teachers and school administrators. Not only was it untrue that schools were under siege; the relationship between parents and schools is a state and local issue, not a federal one — hypothetically, if a parent were to assault a teacher, it would be a state crime, not a federal one,” continued McCarthy.
McCarthy referred to a DOJ memo from last fall, directing the FBI to investigate “threats of violence” at school board meetings in order to combat threats against school officials by angry parents. Garland received massive backlash for his directive because it came just days after the National School Board Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to Biden asking his administration to treat parent protests at school board meetings as possible acts of “domestic terrorism.”
“By contrast, the protection of the Supreme Court as an institution, and of the justices’ security, are patently federal matters over which federal law-enforcement has clear jurisdiction. It is inexcusable that the Justice Department is so silent and passive now, when it was loud and active over a manufactured controversy as to which it had no jurisdiction,” McCarthy told Fox News Digital.
America First Legal senior advisor Ian Prior also reacted to the department’s silence, telling Fox News Digital: “It says all you need to know about how politicized this Department of Justice is. Despite no records from the FBI about a spike in harassment or threats to schools boards, Merrick Garland weaponized the DOJ against parents a mere four days after the Biden Administration received a letter from the NSBA.”
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“Meanwhile, here you have protesters arguably violating federal law by protesting at Supreme Court justices’ homes to influence a legal decision, and we haven’t heard a peep from Garland. This administration has showed nothing but contempt for anyone that doesn’t fall in line with its radical policies and appears to be completely fine with extremist, mob-like tactics to back those policies,” continued Prior.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Monday in response to growing backlash at the protests outside of justices’ homes that President Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest.”
“But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism,” Psaki tweeted. “Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”
However, Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino tweeted in response to Psaki’s statement Monday that the White House still has “no problem” with activists protesting outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes, despite Justice Alito reportedly having to leave his house due to the unrest.
Severino told Fox News Digital in a statement: “Merrick Garland appears much more interested in treating parents like terrorists than prosecuting protesters seeking to influence the justices at their residences, which the White House has made it clear it supports.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said last week during a committee hearing that “There is no room for mob action, intimidation, or any personal threats against a public official. Period. Whether it involves their home or otherwise it is out of line.”
He continued when asked if it’s appropriate for protestors to show up at their homes, “No. I don’t care for people who do it to my home and they have… it is demeaning and adolescent and not convincing at all when you’re trying to plead your case by doing something that outrageous.”
President Biden also “strongly” condemned an attack on a Wisconsin pro-life activist center, saying in a statement that the administration condemns “political violence of any stripe.”
“The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view,” the White House said in a statement Monday. “But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate.”
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Abortion activists protested outside of Chief Justice John Robert’s and Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s homes over the weekend, and the group “Shut Down DC” is organizing another group that will be stationed outside of Justice Samuel Alito’s home on Monday evening.
Alito is the author of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue of abortion to individual states.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote in a February draft opinion for the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.