Supreme Court marshal appeals to Virginia, Maryland governors to help stop protests as DOJ demurs

Letters seek enforcement of local statutes to arrest protesters at justices’ suburban DC homes.

Updated: July 2, 2022 - 11:40pm

While the U.S. Justice Department refuses to enforce a federal law protecting justices, the chief law enforcement official for the Supreme Court is appealing to Maryland and Virginia officials to use local statutes to end the picketing outside the jurists’ homes.

Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley sent letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Montgomery County executive Mark Erlich, raising concerns about the increase In demonstrations since the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked two months ago.

“For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes in Maryland,” Curley wrote to Hogan in a letter made public Saturday by ABC News.

The Maryland residences of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh have been targeted by frequent protests.

Last month, Nicholas Roske, 26, was arrested outside Kavanaugh’s home with a gun in what authorities said was a plot to assassinate the justice.

Curley noted Maryland law mandates a “person may not intentionally assemble with another in a manner that disrupts a person’s right to tranquility in the person’s home.”

Curley also flagged a Montgomery County statute that states a “person or group of persons must not picket in front of or adjacent to any private residence.”

Several weeks ago, Hogan joined Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to enforce a federal law that forbids protests trying to influence judges on pending cases.

"Two months ago, Governor Hogan and Governor Youngkin sent a letter calling on Attorney General Garland to enforce the clear and unambiguous federal statutes on the books that prohibit picketing at judges' residences," Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said Saturday. "A month later, hours after an assassination attempt on Justice Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice finally responded, declining to enforce the laws."

Ricci said there are concerns about the constitutionality of the Maryland law the marshal asked to be enforced.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin got a similar letter from Curley and said Saturday he supported local police and prosecutors supporting the marshal and enforcing state laws around the justices’ homes.

“The governor agrees with the Marshal that the threatening activity outside the Justices' homes has increased,"Youngkin spokesperson Christian Martinez said.

“He welcomes the Marshal of the Supreme Court's request for Fairfax County to enforce state law as they are the primary enforcement authority for the state statute," Martinez added.