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May 11, 2022

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Calls on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to Enforce Federal Law Prohibiting Efforts to Intimidate Supreme Court Justices

(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is calling on U.S.
Attorney General Merrick Garland to enforce federal law against attempts to intimidate U.S. Supreme Court Justices by protesting outside the Justices’ homes.

Attorney General Marshall spearheaded a letter co-signed by 24 other state attorneys general on Wednesday demanding that U.S. Attorney General Garland take action to enforce federal law protecting Supreme Court Justices who are increasingly the target of groups of protestors gathering outside the Justices’ homes.

Attorney General Marshall and his fellow state attorneys general wrote: “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 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.

“You were quick to respond to the purported ‘threat’ of parents speaking out at local school board meetings (though the basis for your threat assessment was shaky to say the least). Here, in the face of escalating extremism directed at the judicial branch, you have an obvious role to play. 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.”

Attorney General Marshall was joined by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona,
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming in writing the letter to Attorney General Garland.

You can read the AGs’ letter here.

[To access hyperlink, click PDF icon at upper right of press release]