Supreme Court orders Maryland and Virginia officials to put an end to picketing at justices houses

WASHINGTON -- Gail Curley, Supreme Court's marshal, wrote to Virginia Governors and to local officials in suburban Washington, D.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
03 July 2022 Sunday 00:19
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Supreme Court orders Maryland and Virginia officials to put an end to picketing at justices houses

WASHINGTON -- Gail Curley, Supreme Court's marshal, wrote to Virginia Governors and to local officials in suburban Washington, D.C. asking them to enforce laws in their respective states and counties that prohibit picketing private homes.

The letter was addressed to Maryland Governor. She wrote to Larry Hogan, a Republican. She stated that Maryland laws prohibit assembly "with another person in a way that disrupts the right to tranquility of the person's house" and that a penalty of up 90 days imprisonment is possible.

Hogan stated that he was "deeply disturbed" by the hundreds of protestors outside the homes of justices in his state when the demonstrations started.

Curley stated in the letter that protest activity at justices homes has increased since then. Large groups were using bullhorns and banging on drums. This is precisely the type of conduct Maryland and Montgomery County laws ban.

In June, the high court overturned Roe v. Wade which established a constitutional right for abortion.

Curley said that 75 protesters had "loudly pickedeted at Maryland's justice's house for 20-30 minutes in an evening, then moved on to picket at another justice’s home for 30-60 minutes, where the crowd grew up to 100, before returning to Curley's residence to picket for 20 more minutes."

Curley wrote to Marc Elrich, executive of Montgomery County. She stated that a separate county law prohibited picketing "infront of or adjacent any private residence." Curley also noted that the county ordinance's author has asked county officials to enforce it against protesters gathering outside of justices' homes.

Both letters were dated Friday to Maryland officials. The marshal also wrote Saturday letters to Virginia Governor. Glenn Youngkin (a Republican) and Jeffrey McKay (chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Northern Virginia, where many justices live, asked for an enforcement of a similar Virginia law.

Officials from Maryland were hesitant to respond. Hogan's Office stated that the Maryland Attorney General had questioned the constitution of the anti-picketing law. It also noted that the Justice Department declined to enforce federal laws which would have stopped the demonstrations.

"In light the refusal of multiple federal entities to take action, the governor has ordered Maryland state police review enforcement options that respects the First Amendment and Constitution," stated Michael Ricci, Hogan’s communications director.

Elrich, the Montgomery County official said that it was counterproductive to discuss security arrangements publicly after the letters of the marshal were made public. Elrich also stated that the federal government is responsible for the safety and security of the justices.

A California man was taken into custody after he flew to Washington from California, and took a taxi to Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home. According to court documents, he claimed that he was trying to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh and then himself. Nicholas Roske has pleaded not guilty.

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