Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and 24 other state attorneys general signed a letter telling U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to enforce federal law, which they say prohibits demonstrations outside U.S. Supreme Court justices’ homes.
“Following last week’s leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, pro-abortion activists have begun protesting not just outside the Supreme Court, but outside the Justices’ homes, in the hope of pressuring the Justices to change their votes. As a former federal judge and the current head of the Department of Justice, you must surely appreciate the unique risks to both judges and the rule of law when judges are targeted at their homes. That is why Congress has long barred ‘picket [Ing] or parade [Ing]’ near a judge’s home ‘with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice,'” states the letter, written by Alabama Attorney General Steve Miller.
Of the 27 Republican state attorneys general in the U.S., only New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley did not sign the letter. Republicans have been critical of state, local, and federal authorities who are not enforcing U.S. and Virginia laws that they say apply to the protests led by pro-choice groups outside the justices’ homes.
The letter was signed Wednesday, the same day Garland’s office told media that he had ordered the U.S. Marshall Service to provide extra support to Supreme Court law enforcement. Garland’s office didn’t respond to a request for clarification if that includes their residences
Miyares has proclaimed himself Virginia’s “top cop,” but his authority is limited, with local commonwealth’s attorneys possessing much of the legal prosecutorial authority. An effort to give Miyares more authority to be involved in local prosecutions was killed in the General Assembly this year. As a result, enforcement of statutes remains largely in the hands of local and federal prosecutors. Miyares’ office didn’t respond to a request asking what other action he might take
“Justices must be able to make legal decisions guided solely by the letter of the law in order for our justice system to survive. That’s why federal law makes it illegal to protest outside a Judge’s home. Attempts to pressure Supreme Court Justices into altering their votes through intimidation and harassment is not only illegal, but dangerous to society,” Miyares said in his Friday press release.
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