Pressure Mounts on Justice Dept. to Protect Supreme Court Justices
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are asking the Justice Department to crack down on protesters harassing Supreme Court justices at their homes and during trips around the Washington area.
In the latest move, an activist group called ShutDownDC is offering bounties for sightings of the justices.
The group offers $50 for a verifiable tip about their location and $200 if the justices remain on the same site for at least half an hour. The half-hour window is supposed to give the activists time to get to the same location to stage a protest.
The bounties are offered for sightings of Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neill Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts. They are the ones who voted last month to overturn the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
The bounties were offered on Friday in a tweet from ShutDownDC, one day after its supporters followed Kavanaugh to a D.C. restaurant. The protesters compelled him to exit out a back door.
“DC Service Industry Workers… If you see Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Coney Barrett or Roberts, DM us with the details!” said the ShutDownDC tweet. “We’ll Venmo you $50 for a confirmed sighting, and $200 if they’re still there 30 mins after your message.”
Just over a month ago, a California man traveled to Kavanaugh’s home to assassinate him. He was arrested by police who were standing guard nearby.
The Biden administration criticized harassment of the justices. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went further, accusing the Justice Department this week of neglecting its responsibilities. He suggested a hearing on security for the justices in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Unfortunately, despite clear evidence that federal law was violated by mobs of protesters at the justices’ homes, the head of the Department of Justice, and chief law enforcement officer of the United States, flatly refused to enforce federal law,” Cruz’s letter said in a reference to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Morton’s The Steakhouse complained in a statement about the harassment of Kavanaugh by the protesters.
“Honorable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh and all of our other patrons at the restaurant were unduly harassed by unruly protestors while eating dinner at our Morton’s restaurant,” the statement said.
Tom can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @tramstack.