WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Three women, including two from Virginia, who interrupted oral arguments inside the United States Supreme Court to protest the overturn of Roe v. Wade, have each pleaded guilty to a federal crime.
According to court documents, on Nov. 2, 2022, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the matter of Bittner v. United States. Emily Archer Paterson, 45, of McLean, Va., Nicole Elizabeth Enfield, 44, of Alexandria, Va. and Rolande Baker, 71, of Tucson, Ariz. attended the argument. The women each sat in a different area of the courtroom. Once arguments began, Paterson stood up and loudly spoke out against the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the 2022 decision that overturned the federal right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade. The attorney arguing before the Court had to stop speaking so that Paterson could be escorted out of the room.
After arguments resumed, Baker stood up and interrupted the Court as well. After she was removed from the room, Enfield stood up to speak, once again stopping the attorney during his argument.
“The government must be able to conduct its business,” U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said. “Interrupting Supreme Court proceedings, even non-violently and briefly, is not First-Amendment protected activity: it is a crime and must be treated as such.”
Paterson, Enfield and Baker were each charged with one count of offense of Speeches and Objectionable Language in the Supreme Court Building, which is a federal misdemeanor. Each defendant entered a guilty plea on Jan. 13, 2023.
The three women were sentenced to one-year terms of probation with stay-away orders from the U.S. Supreme Court.