TOPEKA – (May 12, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday urged the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce a federal law that prohibits individuals from attempting to intimidate U.S. Supreme Court Justices by protesting outside their homes.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Schmidt, along with 24 other state attorneys general, demanded that the Justice Department take action to enforce federal law protecting the Justices, who have increasingly become the target of groups of protestors gathering outside their homes since last week's unprecedented leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“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,” Schmidt and the other attorneys general wrote. “That is why Congress has long barred ‘picket[ing] or parad[ing]’ near a judge’s home ‘with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice.’ We the undersigned Attorneys General act daily to uphold the rule of law. These remarkable recent events provide you an opportunity to do the same.”
The attorneys general also noted in their letter that Garland was not previously shy in using his authority to address a “threat” of parents voicing their opinions to school boards. Yet, when U.S. Supreme Court Justices and their families are being illegally harassed at their homes, he has remained silent.
“Here, in the face of escalating extremism directed at the judicial branch, you have an obvious role to play,” the attorneys general wrote. “Congress recognized that pressuring judges to change their votes by protesting outside their homes directly threatens the rule of law. You profess to share those concerns, having unequivocally stated that attacking a courthouse ‘to prevent judges from actually deciding cases’ plainly constitutes ‘domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.’
“You can and should act accordingly by faithfully executing federal law to prevent protestors from attempting to intimidate the Justices of the Supreme Court, both to protect the Justices and to safeguard the rule of law.”
A copy of the letter to Attorney General Garland is available at https://bit.ly/3FAqHVk.