Democrat and Republican lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday denounced the protest outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“This protest looks like another blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary and anyone who disagrees with the radical agenda pushed by partisan advocates,” Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in opening remarks during a committee hearing on Sept. 14.
Grassley said that the leader of the group, ShutDownDC, recently pleaded no contest to criminal trespass charges and was told to stay away from the wife of Sen. John Hawley (R-Mo.).
“These groups do it for partisan purposes they want to bully judges into ruling in line with their liberal agenda,” Grassley added.
“We all know you have to have a tough mental hyde to be in this business, but it’s absolutely unacceptable from my point of view, to involve any major public figure’s family or their home, or to involve yourself in criminal trespass in the name of political freedom of speech,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “There are proper venues to express yourself and I don’t believe a person’s home or their family should be fair game.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) also criticized the protest.
“You can state your opinion of any one of us at the ballot box, you can write letters, but to try to intimidate family or anything like that is wrong,” Leahy said.
ShutDownDC responded to the criticism with a statement posted on its website which described the event outside Kavanaugh’s home as “an energetic home demonstration.” The group said they took the protest to Kavanaugh’s doorstep because the justices have been working remotely.
“The truth is, if Durbin, Leahy and the Democratic majority in the US Senate did their jobs, we wouldn’t need to go to Brett Kavanaugh’s house. Congress should pass federal legislation protecting reproductive freedom for everyone in this country,” the group said. “So today our message to Durbin, Leahy and their buddies in the Senate Democratic Caucus is, SHUT UP AND PASS SOME LAWS.”
Chief Justice John Roberts early last year issued a pointed statement condemning a speech by then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who appeared to intimidate Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, in remarks at a protest outside the Supreme Court.
“You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer said.
In a rare rebuke issue shortly after, Roberts condemned Schumer’s rhetoric.
“Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter,” Roberts said.