Following the explosive leak of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, Attorney General Merrick Garland was forced to send U.S. Marshals to the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices to protect them from the hoards of screeching protestors who flooded their residential streets.
But according to training documents given to the office of Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), the U.S. Marshals Service was “instructed to avoid any criminal enforcement actions involving protestors ‘unless absolutely necessary.'”
“Not a single person has been prosecuted for illegally harassing Supreme Court justices outside of their homes,” Senator Britt tweeted on Tuesday. “The reason is crystal clear: the Department of Justice has willfully chosen not to enforce federal law. I presented the evidence today.”
Not a single person has been prosecuted for illegally harassing Supreme Court justices outside of their homes.
The reason is crystal clear: the Department of Justice has willfully chosen not to enforce federal law. I presented the evidence today.https://t.co/C5sjCRzfRV pic.twitter.com/owISK6TnZw
— Senator Katie Boyd Britt (@SenKatieBritt) March 29, 2023
In a series of slides, the Marshals were told “that ‘making arrests and initiating prosecutions is not the goal’ of their presence at the homes of the Justices.”
“Avoid, unless absolutely necessary, criminal enforcement action involving the protest or protesters, particularly on public space,” a portion of one slide directed.
Britt’s office was provided the documents by a whistleblower who was “concerned about the attorney general’s misleading testimony before the Judiciary Committee,” a spokesperson told Politico.
Republicans pointed to a federal law that prohibits protests that aim to influence a final verdict from taking place outside a judge’s home.
And, according to a statement made earlier this month by Garland, the U.S. Marshals he dispatched were granted the “full authority to arrest people under any federal statute, including that federal statute.”
But the training materials suggest that Department of Justice lawyers had concluded that, if the Marshals acted on that statute and began arresting those protesting, they might be violating their First Amendment rights.
Slide #4 “Discourages the Marshals from making arrests under 18 U.S.C. §1507 by asserting that there may be a First Amendment right to harass the Justices and their families.”
“Despite the clear language of 18 U.S.C. §1507” the slide claimed that “the ‘intent of influencing any judge’ language only applies to ‘criminal threats and intimidation,’ not protest activities.”
“Any arrests of protestors should be a ‘last resort’ to prevent physical harm to the Justices and their families,” the slide states.
As BizPac Review reported last June, protestors continued to gather outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home, even after one disturbed activist from California plotted to kill him.
Mob is STILL illegally protesting outside Kavanaugh’s home hours after assassination attempt https://t.co/6uEXFMcpZE pic.twitter.com/cqBAWO9WIw
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 9, 2022
When confronted with the slides by Britt, Garland claimed he had never seen them before, according to Politico.
“Were you at any point before your testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee aware of these training materials?” Britt asked the attorney general, suggesting that he might want to “amend” his earlier statement.
“There’s nothing for me to amend because, as I said, I’ve never seen those slides before,” Garland replied.
“It’s clear the marshals were given a different directive and I would ask you to look into that, please,” Britt shot back.
The U.S. Marshals continue to protect the justices, Politco reports, and are “seeking $21 million to pay for 42 additional deputy marshals in the next fiscal year.”
You can watch the full exchange below.
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