RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Glenn Youngkin and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan are calling on the Department of Justice to send adequate resources to keep Supreme Court justices and their families safe.
The governors sent a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland as abortion rights protests around homes of U.S. justices continue.
They want federal law enforcement to protect the justices in the weeks and months ahead as protests continue.
Youngkin and Hogan said they’re ‘deeply concerned’ by the reports of demonstrators using threatening language towards the justices.
One of those protests happened Monday night in Alexandria, Virginia, surrounding the home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Justice Alito is the one who wrote a leaked draft majority opinion in support of overturning Roe v. Wade.
In the letter from Youngkin and Hogan, they said some of the threatening language includes a comment to ABC News saying, “If you take away our choices, we will riot.”
The governors go on to explain that federal law prohibits picketing the home of a judge with the aim to influence the judge’s decision-making process and that federal law enforcement should take the lead to protect the justices.
Virginia state law does prohibit picketing in private residential areas in a manner that quote ‘disrupts any individual’s right to tranquility in his home’, which University of Richmond law professor Kevin Walsh said leaves room for debate.
Walsh said under the first amendment, the government can’t target protesters because of what they’re saying, but it can restrict the way in which they’re saying it.
Department of Justice spokesperson Anthony Coley released this statement:
“Attorney General Garland continues to be briefed on security matters related to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Justices. The Attorney General directed the U.S. Marshals Service to help ensure the Justices’ safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police.”
Gov. Youngkin previously sent a request to Fairfax County asking for protection. The chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Jeffrey McKay, responded to the letter requesting a security perimeter around the homes of Supreme Court justices in Fairfax. McKay said his focus is on public safety and protecting constitutional rights of citizens.