The homes of Supreme Court justices are the latest site for protests against abortion access in the United States.
Activists gathered in the rain on Saturday outside the residence of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Maryland, to protest a leaked draft opinion backed by the court’s conservative majority.
The document, released by Politico last week, showed the commission was ready to overturn Roe v. valley. The court confirmed the validity of the draft but reminded the Americans that it was not the final ruling. A decision in the case, which focuses on restricting abortion in Mississippi, is expected by the end of June or early July.
The demonstrators raised banners reading “It will not be repeated” and “Do not step on my choice.”
The demonstrations sparked a response from the White House on Monday that judges should not be concerned about their “personal safety.”
“[President Joe Biden] “He strongly believes in the constitutional right to protest,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet. But this should not include violence, threats or sabotage. Judges perform a very important function in our society, and they must be able to perform their functions without concern for their personal safety.”
Republicans accused the administration of failing to condemn violent threats after Psaki’s initial response to protests in the judges’ homes.
“These activists have posted a map with the home addresses of the Supreme Court justices. Is that something this president wants to help your side make their point?” asked Fox News reporter Peter Dossey during her daily press conference on May 5.
Psaki responded, “I think the president’s view is that there is a lot of emotion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness on the part of many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document.” “Obviously we want to respect people’s privacy. We want people to protest peacefully if they want to protest. That’s definitely what the president will think.”
Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department were at the scene as protests erupted, as seen in photos from WJLA affiliate ABC. The department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment. There were no reports of violence or vandalism during the protests.
Senators Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, introduced legislation that would allow Supreme Court police to provide all nine justices and their families with round-the-clock security.
The US Marshals Service said Monday it is assisting the Supreme Court Marshal with heightened security concerns in the wake of the leaked draft opinion, but did not comment further on specific security measures. Two federal law enforcement sources told ABC News that steps have been taken to bolster security details around individual judges, including in their homes.
ShutDownDC said 100 people were part of Saturday’s protests in the Chevy Chase neighborhood where Kavanaugh and Roberts live. It is unclear whether the judges or their families were at home at the time.
The group plans to hold another protest outside Judge Samuel Alito’s home Monday night, and it will include speakers, a candlelight vigil and quiet moments of reflection.
Alito was the author of February. 10. A draft opinion that says “Roe was blatantly wrong from the start.”
“It is important that we come together in this way because attacks on abortion rights are not only a violation of our autonomy over our bodies and a violation of the privacy between us and our doctors, but also a real and symbolic victory for those who wish to strip us more rights – among them contraceptives, same-sex marriage, privacy and security from scrutiny. State for our beliefs—and more so from our black, brown, and indigenous friends and brethren,” Hope Neyer of ShutDownDC for ABC News.
The bombshell opinion draft about Roe sparked rallies from abortion rights activists and anti-abortion protesters across the country. A nationwide working day is planned for Saturday, May 14.
An eight-foot “non-climb” fence was put in place around the Supreme Court building last week. Neither court nor law enforcement officials have said anything publicly about the potential threats to the institution or to the judges, who are due to return in person for a special conference on May 12.
Republicans condemn the protests, with the senator. Ted Cruz equated them with “mob violence” although there were no reports of violence.
“It’s a shame,” Cruz of Texas told Fox News on Sunday.
ShutDownDC responded to Cruz’s comments, telling ABC, “We are exercising our constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate and intend to continue to do so regardless of any ambitions that people like Ted Cruz who fear our collective power may harbor.”
Democratic strategist Paul Begala also took part in the protests in front of the Roberts and Kavanaugh homes, saying they could do more harm than good.
“This is wrong, stupid, potentially dangerous and politically counterproductive,” Bakala wrote on Twitter.
Luke Barr of ABC News contributed to this report.