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Abortion activists protest at Supreme Court justices' homes after man arrested for assassination plot

Supreme Court, abortion
Pro-abortion and pro-life demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022, in Washington, D.C. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled. |

The pro-choice group Ruth Sent Us is continuing to hold protests outside the homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices weekly as concerns about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade continue to loom large in American politics. 

Ruth Sent Us, a liberal group named after the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has scheduled protests outside the homes of the six Republican-appointed justices every week ahead of an impending decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

A draft opinion of the decision released to Politico last month, which is not final, showed five of nine justices supporting the reversal of the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The protests take place five days a week, with demonstrators starting to arrive at public locations like nearby shopping centers or schools at 6:30 p.m. ET. From there, they either march or carpool to the justices' homes starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Protests are held outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the draft opinion, every Monday. The demonstrations occur in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh live, every Wednesday. While Kavanaugh signed on to the draft opinion in Dobbs, Roberts did not. 

On Thursday, pro-abortion protesters converge outside the home of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The protests target Justice Clarence Thomas on Fridays and Justice Neil Gorsuch on Saturdays. The group does not hold any demonstrations on Tuesdays or Sundays.

Footage of a protest this past Saturday outside Gorsuch's home shows demonstrators dressed in "Handmaid's Tale" costumes chanting: "This choice that I have, Gorsuch didn't give it to me. He didn't give it. He'd better not take it away!" 

Ruth Sent Us previously held a series of protests outside the homes of the six Supreme Court justices on what it described as "Walk-by Wednesday, May 11, 2022."

While the group created a Google map featuring the justices' addresses, the map was removed as a violation of the platform's "Terms of Service and/or policies."

The leaked draft opinion has led to several threats against Supreme Court justices and others involved in the abortion debate. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reported on the likelihood of extremist violence.

An assassination attempt against Kavanaugh was foiled last week after the suspect confessed his intentions before carrying out a plot on the justice's home. 

Last Wednesday, police in Maryland arrested 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske outside Kavanaugh's Chevy Chase home. He was armed with multiple weapons, including a gun, knife, pepper spray and zip ties.

The Washington Post reported that Roske told detectives that he was "upset" about the possibility of the Supreme Court reversing Roe and the recent mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. After news of the assassination attempt broke, Ruth Sent Us insisted it was "committed to non-violence."

According to 18 U.S.C. 1507, which relates to obstruction of justice, anyone who has the intent of "interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer" and pickets or parades in or near a court building or residents "occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness or court officer" will face a fine or imprisonment of one year.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote that "[e]veryone has the right to protest, but assailing the families of judges at home is a blatant attempt at intimidation."

"If the leaker wanted to mobilize public hostility to the Court, he is succeeding," the editorial board wrote. 

"The threats against the Court are enough that a fence has gone up around the Supreme Court building, and new security has been laid on. A violent act by a fanatic can't be ruled out, and this warrants the attention of Attorney General Merrick Garland. Federal law makes it a crime to threaten federal judges, and that includes threats of vigilantism."

Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe, the legality of abortion will be decided on a state-by-state basis. While 21 states will either ban abortion completely or restrict it more severely than they do now, 16 states that have codified a right to abortion into law will continue to allow abortion throughout all or most of pregnancy. Ten states will likely continue to enforce existing abortion laws and/or restrictions. The remaining three states could soon hold referendums where voters will decide abortion policy going forward. 

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