May 8, 2022

Much has been written this week about the pro-abortionists’ plans to picket the homes of the six Republican-appointed justices over the egregiously leaked Alito draft overturning Roe v. Wade. Those criticisms, which I summarize below, are certainly valid. If we had an attorney general who cared about enforcing the law, he’d seek injunctive relief and criminal penalties for such conduct.  If AG Merrick Garland fails to do so, the attorney general of Virginia, Jason S. Miyares, may step in to preclude any such protests in his state. But I think the rowdies got their ideas from Chief Justice Roberts’s strange role in the ObamaCare case mandate challenge and in the Left’s success in rampaging and terrorizing the country after the death in custody of George Floyd.

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When I want a good legal analysis, one of the first places I turn to is the Volokh Conspiracy, and in particular, the lucid and persuasive analyses by Professor Eugene Volokh. This week he explains why picketing the judges’ residence with the intent to influence them violates federal law. (And the intent is to influence, obviously because this is just a draft, not a final, opinion.)

The relevant statute is 18 U.S.C. Sec.1507 which reads:

1.  Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or

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2.  with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty,

3.  pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or

4.  in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or

5.  with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence,

6.  shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Previous courts recognizing that the State “has a legitimate interest in protecting its judicial system from such bullying tactics and maintaining a fair and orderly administration of justice have ruled that such outside influence may be banned without interfering with constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.”