About 100 pro-abortion activists took their protests to the homes of two conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on May 7 in the aftermath of a leaked draft opinion that indicates the high court is set to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
The demonstrations began at a café in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and protestors first headed to the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then toward the nearby residence of Chief Justice John Roberts, and finally back to Kavanaugh’s home, where police asked them to disperse.
During the demonstration, protestors chanted slogans like “Keep abortion safe and legal.” The left-wing group ShutDown DC is said to be planning a protest outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house on May 9. Alito wrote the draft opinion.
“The evening of Monday, May 9, we will hold a vigil for all these rights that Alito is threatening to take away. Because it’s been impossible to reach him at the Supreme Court (especially now with the enormous fences), we will do it at his home,” said an online description of the event.
“At 7:30 pm we will gather at a nearby location and walk together to his house. At the foot of his driveway, on the public street, we will light candles and speakers will share their testimony.”
According to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion, the justices have decided to overturn the 1973 decision that categorized abortion as a constitutional right.
Alito wrote that the 1973 judgment was “egregiously wrong from the start,” its reasoning was “exceptionally weak,” and the decision has had “damaging consequences.”
Numerous states are set to ban abortion if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade. States that continue to allow abortion may see an influx of pregnant women seeking such services.
Roberts called the unprecedented leak “absolutely appalling” during a recent talk with a group of lawyers and judges. He also called the individual who leaked the document “foolish” if they believed the action would affect the final court judgment.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way,” Roberts said.
“This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
Kavanaugh is one of the five justices known to have cast preliminary votes to overturn Roe v. Wade. Media reports have said Roberts opposes striking it down completely, instead favoring a compromise decision that would leave some parts of the original ruling intact while keeping abortion limited to 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Amid protests triggered by the draft opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the most conservative members of the nine-member high court, said the court cannot be “bullied.”
As a society, “we are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like,” Thomas said, according to Reuters. “We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that.”