OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Karl Rove, a Fox News contributor and former top political adviser to President George W. Bush, had a heated exchange with fellow network contributor Juan Williams on Sunday over a discussion about protesters who are showing up at the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices.
The exchange came on the heels of an assassination attempt on the life of Justice Brett Kavanaugh last week by a California man who told authorities he was upset by the justices’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“The American Civil Liberties Union says this statue, we interpret at the following way, we point to a Supreme Court Case that suggests that as long as they keep moving in front of the house, if they are stationary, they should be arrested but if they are moving in front of the house have a right to try and influence a Supreme Court Justice. That is ridiculous,” Rove told a “Fox News Sunday” panel that was hosted by anchor Bret Baier.
“We either ought to apply the law, or we ought to just simply say it’s open season on judges. Cause that’s what we’re doing.”
Williams interjected, “I think you have a right to protest.”
“But not in front of their house,” Rove fired back.
“You have a right to protest anywhere in America,” Williams replied. “Now clearly, these people should not be violent, and they shouldn’t threaten.
“But the idea that they’re influencing. I don’t think it’s about the influence. I think it’s about a Supreme Court that’s become radical, and extremist, and activist and is going to put out a decision that’s going to — believe me — polarize this country. Undo 50 years of law,” Williams continued in what appeared to be a criticism of the high court’s conservative majority, which may overturn the Roe decision.
Rove shot back, “So because you disagree with a prospective decision, you think people have a right to show up in front of a house and try and intimidate a judge to change their mind?”
Williams responded, “No.”
But an increasingly heated Rove noted, “How about any case in America? Would you defend everybody’s right to go in front of every judge and say? ‘My God, if you decide one way or the other, you deserve me protesting in front of your house’ Forget it! That’s intimidation.”
“I think everyone at this table has had people demonstrate or come to their door, and it’s unsettling. No one’s defending it. But the right to protest is essential to America,” Williams insisted.
Rove said, “Fine but not in front of their house.”
“I’m just telling you, in politics, that’s a reality,” Williams replied.
“It’s not a good reality!” Rove fired back.
The heated back-and-forth comes amid several protests that have taken place at conservative justices’ homes, as well as threats of more protests to come, despite the fact that such demonstrations likely constitute violations of federal law. Republicans have blasted the Biden Justice Department for refusing to move on demonstrators, especially in lieu of the assassination plot against Kavanaugh.
Meanwhile, left-wing groups announced over the weekend they planned to “blockade” the U.S. Supreme Court building on Monday in anticipation of the formal issuance of the Roe decision, which many observers believe will be closely aligned with the previously leaked draft ruling last month overturning the 1973 decision and returning the issue to states.
The group ShutdownDC announced the action on its website, which says the protest will begin at 7 a.m. on Monday in Stanton Park in Washington, D.C. As part of the “shut down SCOTUS” protest, the group will “blockade” the streets around the Supreme court, according to the website.
The group’s announced action comes after the FBI warned last week that violence and other illegal activities will not be tolerated in and around the Supreme Court building.
In a joint statement issued by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Steven D’Antuono, they said the agencies are “committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans to express their views peacefully during demonstrations that take place on a regular basis in the nation’s capital, including at the Supreme Court.”
“We also have a responsibility to ensure public safety and the orderly conduct of government business. We will not tolerate violence, destruction, interference with government functions, or trespassing on government property,” the statement added. “We are committed to working closely with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to stop any individuals who intend to commit violence or criminal activity under the guise of carrying out a demonstration.”