WASHINGTON, D.C. – The marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court called on officials in Maryland and Virginia to “enforce” state and local laws that “prohibit picketing outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices.”
Marshal Gail Curley wrote a series of letters that were distributed to state leaders over the weekend, saying, “For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes in Virginia,” Marshal Gail Curley wrote to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “This is exactly the kind of conduct that Virginia law prohibits.”
Curley sent similar letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, along with several Maryland and Virginia county officials, KPCC reported.
Protests and picketing outside the conservative justices’ private residences in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. have been ongoing for weeks leading up to the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, and have continued since the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade was overturned as a result of Dobbs.
Law enforcement authorities arrested an armed man in June near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh after the suspect called 911 to confess that he was suicidal and had traveled to Maryland with the intent of killing Kavanaugh, Law Officer reported.
The criminal defenant has since pleaded not guilty to a single charge of attempting to murder the justice.
Both municipal and federal law enforcement authorities have been present at the justices’ homes since the protests began.
In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in May, Governors Hogan and Youngkin called on the Justice Department to deploy adequate resources and tighten security for the justices, NPR reported.
The governors hope that doing so will keep the conservative justices and their families safe as abortion-rights activists continue to protest outside their homes.
Today, @GovernorVA and I sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on the Department of Justice to provide adequate resources to keep the Supreme Court justices and their families safe amid ongoing protests at their homes. pic.twitter.com/6D0bMGSp3q
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 11, 2022
The letter cites federal law that explicitly forbids demonstrations at the homes of judges, and they urged Garland to enforce it, something he has failed to do.
State leaders say the federal law has much more power with the scenario at hand.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Hogan suggested there were First Amendment concerns with the provisions cited by the marshal, and he criticized what he described as the “continued refusal by multiple federal entities to act” on the protests, KPCC reported.
— Michael Ricci (@riccimike) July 2, 2022
“Had the marshal taken the time to explore the matter, she would have learned that the constitutionality of the statute cited in her letter has been questioned by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office,” wrote Michael Ricci in his response to Curley.
“Amid all this, our state and local law enforcement agencies have been on the front lines every day protecting these communities,” he said.
A spokesperson for Youngkin said that Virginia law enforcement personnel would continue to assist. However, they also called on Garland to “do his job by enforcing the much more robust federal law.”