The right of the people peaceably to assemble is so fundamental to the foundation of our nation that it is enshrined in the First Amendment. But the term “peaceably” is key. And the "when" and "where" that people choose to protest absolutely speak to whether a protest is peaceable.
In the summer of 2020, a wave of protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd swept the nation. While many on the Left have sought to downplay the violent nature of hundreds of these gatherings, it is undisputed that they caused over $2 billion in damage.
Passionate protests always have the potential to turn violent, which is why it definitely matters where they happen. It is one thing to protest outside city hall, a police station, or the Supreme Court. It is an entirely different act to protest outside a mayor’s personal residence or a police officer's house. In 2020, unfortunately, many Black Lives Matter protesters crossed this line, demonstrating in residential neighborhoods, especially outside of mayors' homes, many of which were vandalized.
This is why federal law prohibits picketing or parading in front of the home of a judge, juror, witness, or officer of the court under pain of up to one year in prison. Efforts to intimidate people within the legal system are an offense against judicial independence, a key prerequisite to democracy. If protesters want to demonstrate outside the Supreme Court, that is fine. But going into a judge’s neighborhood and marching in front of his or her home is too far. It is a dangerous act of intimidation that should be roundly criticized.
The Biden administration has instead chosen to encourage such illegal protests, and this is worthy of condemnation.
Far-left extremist groups have not only published the home addresses of the conservative Supreme Court justices who are reportedly considering overturning Roe v. Wade, but they are also paying protesters to march to their homes next Wednesday.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was given no less than four chances to condemn plans by far-left groups to pay activists to protest at the homes of justices. She declined every opportunity. “Look, I think the president’s view is that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document,” Psaki said. “I don’t have an official U.S. government position on where people protest.” She appeared unaware that the U.S. government already has a position on this.
Meanwhile, other Democrats, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have made intimidating comments that smack of threats. Schumer once stated that justices will pay personally if they vote against Roe. “I want to tell you, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said before the court heard a case on a Louisiana abortion law in 2020. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Telling justices they will personally “pay the price” if they vote against Roe and then sending activists to their doorsteps is an incitement to violence.
Some of the justices have young children — as do other families in these neighborhoods. President Joe Biden and Schumer are putting these children in harm's way by not loudly condemning these far-left groups that are paying activists to protest in front of these homes.
If someone gets hurt, Biden and Schumer will absolutely be responsible.