Supreme Court Marshal Wants Enforcement of Anti-picket Laws


WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court Marshal has asked Maryland officials to step up enforcement of laws she says prohibit pickets outside the homes of judges living in the state.

“For weeks, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using megaphones and using drums have stolen from judges’ houses,” Marshal Gail Curley wrote in letters dated Friday to GOP Governor Larry Hogan and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

Curley wrote that both Maryland and Montgomery County laws “outright prohibit picketing” in judges’ homes, and she asked officials to instruct police to “enforce” these provisions.

Judges’ houses have been the target of protests since May, when a leaked draft opinion suggested the court was about to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Protests and threatened activity have “increased since May,” Curley wrote, and have continued since last week’s court ruling quashing Roe v. Wade.

“Earlier this week, for example, 75 protesters pecked loudly at one Justice’s home in Montgomery County for 20-30 minutes in the evening, then went on strike for 30 minutes at another Justice’s home, where the crowd grew to 100, and eventually returned to the first judge’s house to pick up another 20 minutes,” Curley wrote in the letter to Elrich. “This is exactly the kind of behavior that Maryland and Montgomery County laws prohibit.”

Curley’s request came about a month after a California man was found with a gun, knife and pepper spray near Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland home after telling police he planned to kill the judge. The man, Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, California, has been charged with the attempted murder of a United States judge.

Supreme Court justices living in Virginia have also become the target of protests. GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin pushed for a security perimeter around the homes of judges living in Fairfax County in May, but local officials rejected the request. He also tried to introduce a new felony sentence for certain actions during demonstrations against judges or other officers of a court, which state lawmakers rejected.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman delivered copies of Curley’s letters to reporters Saturday morning.

A Montgomery County Police Department spokeswoman referred a request for comment to an Elrich spokesperson. The spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question from The Associated Press.

Hogan’s spokesmen also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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