The Supreme Court’s chief security officer requested that Maryland officials move to halt protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices.
In letters sent Friday, Marshal of the Court Gail Curley wrote that “threatening activity” has increased at justices’ homes in Maryland since May, when POLITICO reported the disclosure of a draft opinion of the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Curley cited Maryland law that prohibits picketing in front of private homes.
“For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed justices’ homes in Maryland,” the letter to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said.
“Earlier this week, for example, 75 protesters loudly picketed at one Justice’s home in Maryland for 20-30 minutes in the evening, then proceeded to picket at another Justice’s home for 30 minutes, where the crowd grew to 100, and finally returned to the first Justice’s home to picket for another 20 minutes. This is exactly the kind of conduct that the Maryland and Montgomery County laws prohibit,” the letter continued.
Curley, who is also leading the investigation into the opinion’s disclosure, said state and county laws “provide the tools to prevent picketing activity at the Justices’ homes, and they should be enforced without delay.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh live in Montgomery County, Md. The Washington Post first reported the existence of the marshal’s letters.
On its website, the Montgomery County Department of Police stated it is “committed to preserving the first amendment rights of all individuals wishing to participate in peaceful, lawful, protest and assembly.”
The debate over protests at justices’ homes and Supreme Court security has risen since the disclosure of the draft opinion. In June, a California man was charged with attempted murder after allegedly threatening to kill Kavanaugh in the run up to the court’s key ruling on abortion rights.
Hogan and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia called on the Justice Department in May to provide adequate resources to protect Supreme Court justices and their families.
Curley’s Friday letters quoted previous comments from Hogan and Marc Elrich, the county executive of Montgomery County, with Hogan stating that “we will continue to partner with both federal and local law enforcement officials to help ensure these residential areas are secure.”