Hawley Demands Attorney General Act Against Illegal 'Intimidation' by Pro-Abortion Activists

Hawley Demands Attorney General Act Against Illegal 'Intimidation' by Pro-Abortion Activists
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) delivers remarks during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 21, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Michael Washburn

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on May 10 sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding the investigation and prosecution of “radical pro-abortion activists” who have "unlawfully" picketed the homes of Supreme Court justices suspected of supporting a leaked draft opinion, which stands to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling making abortion legal throughout the United States.

“Across the nation, radical pro-abortion activists have begun a campaign of violence, destruction, and intimidation in response to the leak of a draft document from the Supreme Court. You must vigorously investigate and prosecute the crimes committed in recent days,” the letter urges.

Activists have strenuously protested the leaked opinion in spite of analysis from legal experts who believe that the overturning of Roe will not lead to the outlawing of abortion throughout all or most of the country, but rather to a patchwork of contrasting state laws around the issue.

Citing video evidence of “dozens” of pro-abortion activists surrounding the private homes of Supreme Court justices, the letter attributes to the activists the goal of illegally intimidating the justices into reversing their stance. It notes that, in one case, an unnamed individual has targeted the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh “at least five times” in addition to targeting at least one other justice.

Hawley’s letter cites a federal statute, 18 U.S.C. 1507, making it a crime to picket or parade in or near a building or residence occupied or used by a judge with the intent of influencing the judge. The letter says that such behavior is not free speech protected under the First Amendment.

“Those upset by the leaks have plenty of places to protest that do not involve intimidation and do not place the Justices and their families at risk,” the letter states.

The letter further decries “harrowing reports” that have emerged elsewhere in the nation, including a report of the firebombing of a pro-life organization in Madison, Wisconsin, where the arsonists left a note stating, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.” A radical group named "Jane’s Revenge" has taken credit for the attack.

In another incident cited in the letter, pro-abortion activists reportedly vandalized a church in Boulder, Colorado, leaving messages in favor of abortion and attacking organized religion. The letter also denounces alleged interference in religious services in Los Angeles over the weekend, and argues that such actions are a further violation of federal law, in this case 18 U.S.C. 248(a)(2).

Hawley’s letter concludes by urging the attorney general not to allow such unlawful intimidation to go on, and contrasts the Justice Department’s seeming inaction in the face of such criminal conduct with the vigorous action it has taken in other contexts, such as its response in 2021 to disputes between parents and school administrators over the transmission of Marxist-rooted critical race theory in public schools.

“Last fall, your Department committed substantial resources to investigating parents at school board meetings. Failure to vigorously investigate and prosecute these crimes would send the message that your Department is only interested in prosecuting the Biden Administration’s political opponents—like parents speaking at school board meetings—leaving victims of actual crimes committed by the far left to fend for themselves,” the letter states.

Michael Washburn was a New York-based reporter who covered U.S. and China-related topics for The Epoch Times. He has a background in legal and financial journalism, and also writes about arts and culture. Additionally, he is the host of the weekly podcast Reading the Globe. His books include “The Uprooted and Other Stories,” “When We're Grownups,” and “Stranger, Stranger.”