Thursday, June 08, 2023

Homes of Supreme Court Justices Aren’t As Insulated As We Thought They Were

Despite media reporting to the contrary, the homes and families of Supreme Court Justices apparently aren’t as protected by federal security forces as advertised.

The U.S. Marshals Service dispatched to guard the homes of Supreme Court justices last year was advised to refrain from arresting protesters “unless absolutely necessary,” according to training documents obtained by the office of Republican Senator. Katie Britt of Alabama.

“Avoid, unless absolutely necessary, criminal enforcement action involving the protest or protesters, particularly on public space,” one portion of the training text said.

A whistleblower “concerned about the attorney general’s misleading testimony before the Judiciary Committee” forwarded the training materials to Britt’s office, according to a Britt representative who spoke to Politico.

Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned the U.S. Marshals Service to the homes of Supreme Court justices last summer following protests that ensued after the leak of the high court’s impending decision in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Conservatives have argued the protests staged after the leak violated federal law prohibiting protests outside a judge’s home and were intended to influence the verdict. Garland had earlier claimed that U.S. Marshals “have full authority to arrest people under any federal statute, including that federal statute.”

But, based on the training materials, it appears lawyers at the Department of Justice concluded applying the statute to peaceful protests directed at the justices, outside the homes of the justices, could potentially violate the First Amendment.

“The ‘intent of influencing any judge’ language thus logically goes to threats and intimidation, not 1st [Amendment] protected protest activities,” the training materials read. It was further explained arrests should only be made as a “last resort to present physical harm to the Justices and/or their families.”

During a Congressional hearing earlier this week, Britt presented the training protocol to Garland, who answered to lawmakers he had never before seen the training materials, contained in a slide presentation, according to Politico.

The attorney general asserted to Britt that, in fact, he would not seek to amend his previous statement about the power U.S. Marshals hold to arrest protesters for violating the federal statute the covers intimidating judges.

“There’s nothing for me to amend because, as I said, I’ve never seen those slides before,” he said.

Ronald L. Davis, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, told Fox News Digital in a statement “The attorney general has been clear from the very beginning and on repeated occasions that the Marshals’ number one priority is to protect the justices, their families and their property.

“He has also from the beginning made clear that we have the full authority to enforce any federal statute, including 1507, to the extent doing so doesn’t compromise the lives and safety of the justices,” Davis’ statement continued. “To accomplish this mission, I directed that training be provided to deputies assigned to this detail that places the safety of the justices and their families first. We will review the training materials on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains consistent with this directive.”

Last year, a man with a gun was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Nicholas Roske, 26, allegedly told authorities he intended to kill the justice, although he pleaded not guilty to one count of attempting to kill a justice of the United States.