Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have defended the outrage that some pro-abortion advocates have directed against sitting Supreme Court (SCOTUS) justices as “righteous” and “deserved” as violence against some pro-life groups has begun to escalate.
According to a draft opinion leaked by Politico on May 2, which Chief Justice John Roberts has since indicated is real, SCOTUS may be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion of the court. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The possible repeal of the seminal 1973 abortion case, which has defined federal law toward abortion for the past half-century, sent pro-abortion advocates into a flurry of activity online and on Capitol Hill.
Just minutes after the decision leaked, Pelosi and Schumer issued a statement roundly condemning the document.
“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” the two wrote in a joint statement on May 2. They said the decision would be the “greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), leader of the 96-strong Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a May 2 tweet, “As one of the 1 in 4 women in this country who have chosen to have an abortion, I am outraged & disgusted by the reported draft SCOTUS opinion.”
Since then, abortion advocates have leaked the home addresses of SCOTUS justices to the public and have staged protests outside their personal homes, prompting concern for the safety of the justices.
The protests, some have argued, are directly in contravention of U.S. law.
Under 18 U.S. Code § 1507, protesting outside the homes of those involved in the judicial process “with 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, in the discharge of his duty,” is liable to incur fines or prison time.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to a request by the Epoch Times for comment on the legal issue.
When asked about it during a May 9 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied indirectly, saying, “We’re certainly not suggesting that anyone break any laws.”
Despite the protests being in apparent contravention of U.S. law, House and Senate Democrat leaders have praised the protests.
“While we have seen and heard extraordinary anguish in our communities, we have been moved by how so many have channeled their righteous anger into meaningful action: planning to march and mobilize to make their voices heard,” said Pelosi on the protests. “Thank you for your powerful commitment to carrying on the fight for the rights of all Americans.”
Pelosi’s comment came under fire after the office of pro-life activist group Wisconsin Family Action was firebombed by pro-abortion activists. Julaine Appling, president of the group, attributed the attack to Pelosi’s rhetoric.
“It seems to me that Nancy Pelosi is partly responsible for inciting the kind of violence that we were the recipients of early on Mother’s Day morning,” Appling said. “That kind of rhetoric heats things up. It doesn’t cool it down. And our leaders need to be held responsible and held accountable for the kind of message they send.”
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Schumer also praised the protests.
“The outrage among women is palpable and real,” Schumer said, “and the outrage directed against this court is deserved.”
Some Republicans, concerned about the risk to the personal safety of the justices, have called on Chief Justice Roberts to release the decision as soon as possible to forestall the risk of further escalation.
On Monday, senators on both sides of the aisle banded together to pass legislation that would increase the security detail for justices and their families as protests continue unabated, with no indication from the White House or the DOJ that they will step in to enforce the law around judicial protests.