Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding enforcement of the law and action against those intimidating Supreme Court Justices following the leak of a decision draft in the Dobbs v. Jackson case before the Court.
The letter highlighted the need to zealously guard the First Amendment while also ensuring judges are not intimidated by mob rule. Since the leak of the decision, mobs of protestors have swarmed the homes of Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and Roberts.
It a crime to picket or parade outside of a judge’s home, particularly if the intent of such actions is to influence them in the discharge of their official duties. The right to peacefully assemble is among the most sacred rights we hold as Americans, which is why our forbearers demanded it be enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Yet this sacred right has never permitted Americans to intimidate judges, jurors, or officers of the court with the expressed objective of swaying the outcome of an independent judicial proceeding.
The lawmakers wrote in part, “Importantly, enforcing 18 U.S.C. § 1507 in no way deprives protestors of their constitutional right to assembly. Protestors have ample opportunity to gather in one of a million other places, including on sidewalks outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, as was upheld by United States v. Grace (1983). There is therefore no compelling justification for your failure to act other than to permit protestors to unlawfully intimidate justices of the United States Supreme Court.”