The Biden White House has taken a highly “hands off” approach to addressing protests outside the private residences of Supreme Court justices since last week’s leak of a draft opinion that indicates the court may be set to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Federal statute 18 U.S. Code § 1507 provides that any person who “pickets or parades” near a federal courthouse or any “building or residence” used by judges, jurors, witnesses, or court officers with the intent of interfering with or impeding justice or influencing court personnel are guilty of a federal crime. The law provides for fines and imprisonment of up to one year.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did nothing to discourage people from protesting directly outside the homes of justices over the weekend. When she was told that a map of the homes of the justices had been made public, she simply said she did not know of an “official government position” about where people decide to protest.
This week, Psaki assured the media that there was no violence or vandalism at the protests.
Biden’s Department of Justice is likewise sitting silent as protests outside the homes of conservative justices have led some of them to flee to safer locations. Attorney General Merrick Garland has not made any public statements about the protests.
Fox News legal contributor Andy McCarthy said that the DOJ is “elevating their political interests” in criticizing the draft opinion above its duty to protect the court and its members. He added that Garland took an opposite approach months ago by sending out the FBI to intimidate parents protesting local educational policies when he claimed the department had a duty to protect school personnel.
McCarthy pointed out that Garland’s acts of intimidation against parents did not involve federal interests, whereas the current actions outside of the justices’ homes are expressly prohibited by federal law enacted by Congress.
Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino told Fox News this week that Garland still appears more interested in “treating parents like terrorists” than enforcing federal law protecting the Supreme Court. She added that the White House has made it clear it supports the illegal protests.
Activists protested over the weekend directly outside the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The activist group “Shut Down DC” organized a Monday protest outside the residence of Justice Samuel Alito.