OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The GOP governors of Maryland and Virginia have responded to a letter from the Supreme Court’s highest-ranking security official who called on them to utilize their law enforcement resources to prevent protests at the homes of justices.
“The governor agrees with the Marshal that the threatening activity outside the Justices’ homes has increased,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin spokesperson Christian Martinez said in response to a letter from Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley that called on the governor to “enforce state law” prohibiting picketing outside the homes of the justices, Fox News reported.
“He welcomes the Marshal of the Supreme Court’s request for Fairfax County to enforce state law as they are the primary enforcement authority for the state statute,” the statement continued.
But Youngkin himself called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to “do his job” by “enforcing the much more robust federal law.”
“Every resource of federal law enforcement, including the U.S. Marshals, should be involved while the Justices continue to be denied the right to live peacefully in their homes,” the GOP governor added.
In addition, Curley sent a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan requesting the “Maryland State Police, in conjunction with local authorities as appropriate, enforce laws that prohibit picketing outside of the homes of Supreme Court Justices who live in Maryland.”
In response, Hogan’s Director of Communications Michael Ricci also pointed a finger at Garland in a Twitter post.
“Two months ago, Governor Hogan and Governor Youngkin sent a letter calling on Attorney General Garland to enforce the clear and unambiguous federal statutes on the books that prohibit picketing at judges’ residences,” Ricci wrote.
“A month later, hours after an assassination attempt on Justice Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice finally responded, declining to enforce the laws,” Ricci said.
“Now a different federal official is writing to us with conflicting information,” Ricci continued. “Had the marshal taken 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.”
— Michael Ricci (@riccimike) July 2, 2022
He added that Hogan has instructed Maryland State Police to further review law enforcement options “in light of the continued refusal by multiple federal entities to act.”
Fox News notes further:
Last month, 26-year-old Nicholas Roske arrived at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland home with designs on killing Kavanaugh and then himself, prosecutors say. Roske ended giving himself up without harming anyone.
Hogan, along with Youngkin, have called on the Department of Justice to enforce the federal statute that prohibits protests, pickets and other forms of intimidation outside the home of judges.
It is illegal under federal law to attempt to influence a judge’s ruling or interfere with the discharge of their duty. The Justice Department, however, has thus far refused to interfere with demonstrators outside the homes of several Supreme Court justices, including Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.
While the DOJ has provided security at the justices’ homes, they have allowed protests and picketing to continue unimpeded.
Republicans, especially, have blasted Garland for refusing to enforce the federal statutes and Democrats for encouraging violence against justices over their various recent decisions including the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I think, unfortunately for the left, the law is viewed as optional,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a reporter after Roske was arrested. “If they disagree with the law, they refuse to enforce it. Whether it is the federal criminal law that protects these children or whether it is the federal criminal law that protects Supreme Court Justices.”
“We saw just yesterday a man arrested for attempted murder of a Supreme Court Justice. That crime was actively encouraged by elected Democrats,” Cruz said.
“Chuck Schumer went to the steps of the Supreme Court and threatened the Justices. The White House actively encouraged protesters to go to the home of Supreme Court justices, despite the fact that it is there’s a federal criminal prohibition on doing so while a court case is pending – the only time that I’m aware of where the White House, literally from the White House press room, has encouraged the ongoing commission of a felony,” he added.
“And even today, the Department of Justice has not arrested the protesters that are violating criminal law on its face because the president and the attorney general agree with their politics,” he said during the mid-June press conference. “Well, the law is meant to be applied regardless of party.”