The Supreme Court’s marshal reportedly issued letters to Maryland and Virginia officials asking them to enforce laws against picketing at private homes in light of protests outside of the residences of conservative justices on the Supreme Court, following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, according to NBC News and the Washington Post.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley reportedly sent four separate letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D), Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay (D) over the weekend.
In her letter, Curley noted that “threatening” activity had increased at the homes of the conservative justices on the high court since the draft of the Court’s opinion of the ruling that ultimately overturned Roe leaked in May.
“For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes in Maryland,” Curley’s letter to Hogan said, according to the Post. “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.”
In her letter addressed to Erlich, the executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, Curley reportedly noted that a separate county law bans picketing “in front of or adjacent to any private residence,” according to NBC News and the Post.
Both letters to the Maryland officials were dated Friday, NBC News reported. Curley reportedly sent letters to Youngkin and McKay on Saturday, asking for enforcement of a similar Virginia law.
Michael Ricci, Hogan’s director of communications, pushed back against Curley’s request in a statement on Saturday. Ricci questioned the constitutionality of Maryland’s anti-picketing law. He said the Justice Department refused to enforce federal laws that would halt demonstrations after Hogan and Youngkin asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to “enforce the clear and unambiguous federal statutes on the books that prohibit picketing at judges’ residences.”
“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,” Ricci wrote.
“In light of the continued refusal by multiple federal entities to act, the governor has directed Maryland state police to further review enforcement options that respect the First Amendment and the Constitution,” Ricci continued.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Justices Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion overturning Roe; Clarence Thomas, whose concurring opinion calls for the Court to revisit other landmark decisions related to host of protected privacy rights; and Amy Coney Barret live in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Justice Department provided security services to the Supreme Court and its justices in May amid national protests in response to the leaked draft opinion to overturn abortion rights.