Patterico's Pontifications

5/13/2022

As Alito Addresses the Home Protests (But Not Really), Governors Ask DoJ to Do Something About Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am



Justice Alito spoke to an audience remotely from the Supreme Court and was asked, basically, so how y’all doin’?

“I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear, personally, are you all doing okay in these very challenging times?” the questioner asked.

. . . .

“This is a subject I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about today regarding, you know — given all the circumstances,” Alito replied.

After a pause, he added: “The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work. We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out.”

The court gathered Thursday for the first time since the draft opinion was disclosed to Politico and the court’s chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., opened a leak investigation.

After detailing the schedule for getting the court’s work done by the end of June or early July, Alito skipped the usual boilerplate that justices tend to employ about disagreeing about the law but remaining respectful and friendly.

Instead, he concluded: “So that’s where we are.”

The assumption in the Court has always been, I assume, that Dobbs will be the last opinion issued on the last day of the Court’s operations this year, likely at the end of June (possibly at the beginning of July). I doubt they’re going to rush it out, giving the dissent a chance to say that its arguments weren’t even considered.

This creates a fraught time in the interim. Glenn Youngkin and Larry Hogan have both asked the Justice Department to enforce a law that prevents people from picketing outside the justices’ homes:

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin revealed on “Your World” Wednesday that he and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to prosecute those demonstrating outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over an anticipated ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by Fox News, Youngkin and Hogan called on Garland to “provide appropriate resources to safeguard the justices and enforce the law as it is written.” Both Republican governors offered their respective states’ assistance to secure the justices’ homes, but said they need Garland and the Department of Justice to “to take the lead.”

“There is simply too much at stake,” the last line of the two-page letter reads.

There sure is. I remain very worried about the volatile situation these home protests are causing, and the potential for deadly violence. The Justice Department needs to act.

42 Responses to “As Alito Addresses the Home Protests (But Not Really), Governors Ask DoJ to Do Something About Them”

  1. There is nothing the 3 leftists on the court could write that would make the other justices consider Roe and Casey to be constitutional since they’ve been unconstitutional from the beginning. Overturn this barbaric ruling and let the chips fall as they may.

    Throw Roe and Casey on the ash heap of history with Dred Scott and Plessy.

    NJRob (85edc0)

  2. The Justice Department needs to act.

    Actually, the SCOTUS needs to act — and find the leaker.

    Bureaucrat Alito really shouldn’t be commenting on this publicly at all; that’s really the purview of the Chief Justice, particularly w/respect to ongoing court operations: “The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work. We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out.”’ Has Alito self-appointed himself the SCOTUS office manager, PR man and spokesperson now? Who died and made him Chief Justice?

    SCOTUS is merely a government bureaucracy now. And their integrity, image, competence and reputation are in question. When that happened with NASA, they shutdown operations, were forced to source the management problems to resolution, reorganized, made adjustments and then resumed operations. The court is in the same boat. Until they run the leaker to ground, Sam’s merely a ‘Dancing Alito’ and a ready made punchline for SNL skits.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  3. The problem is that the government will need to prove under 18 USC 1507 that a protester intended to interfere “ with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge…… in the discharge of his duty…….” Merely protesting in support of abortion rights probably would not be covered by this prohibition.

    What will happen is that there will be mass arrests but the cases will ultimately be dismissed for lack of evidence.

    Question-

    If someone arrested for protesting at a Justice’s home appeals their conviction to the Supreme Court, should that Justice be required to recuse from hearing the appeal?

    Rip Murdock (acd58f)

  4. @3. Keep your eye on the ball: the problem is the leaker.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  5. Someone should tell Biden that if a justice is attacked, he will be held responsible and impeachment will be likely should the GOP take the House.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  6. R.I.P. actor Fred Ward

    Icy (98b9a2)

  7. @5. Meh. Someone should tell Biden it’s a Friday. The 13th, too.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  8. @6. He played ol’ Gruff Gus– now he’s with him.

    R.I.P.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  9. The problem is that the government will need to prove under 18 USC 1507 that a protester intended to interfere “ with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge…… in the discharge of his duty…….” Merely protesting in support of abortion rights probably would not be covered by this prohibition.

    That this started shortly after the leaked opinion directly ties this to influencing (or rather intimidating) justices over tat same opinion. There is nothing quite so intimidating as “we know where you live.” Making someone insecure in the place where they are their family sleeps is unrelated to free speech. Threats are not free speech and the threat here is as inherent as cross-burning.

    One of these fools is going to return with a firebomb.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  10. There is nothing quite so intimidating as “we know where you live.”

    Hmmm. That would be news to Vlad. 😉

    … and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  11. @9. It all traces back to the source of the problem; find the leaker and the noise will wane.

    DCSCA (565e11)

  12. R.I.P. Bud McFarlane, 84

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  13. That this started shortly after the leaked opinion directly ties this to influencing (or rather intimidating) justices over tat same opinion. …..

    That would be immaterial in assessing an individual protester’s guilt.

    Rip Murdock (acd58f)

  14. That would be immaterial in assessing an individual protester’s guilt.

    Not as conspiracy.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  15. So, wait. Then the individuals who protested Jan 6th ant the Capitol “just happened to be there” and the fact that they were counting electoral votes is immaterial? I’m sure you don’t mean that.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  16. @13. Depends- Opportunity fuels motivation; ask Putin.

    DCSCA (092cd7)

  17. DCCCP: “And their integrity, image, competence and reputation are in question.”

    This seems wildly overstated. For one, it’s wrong to tarnish all of the justices for the an ethical lapse of possibly one justice or, more likely, a rogue clerk. It is also possible that there could have been a hack and an unlawful penetration could have been to blame. Yes, part of that lands on the justices for potentially falling prey, but it’s wrong to cast aspersions before we know any facts. Second, the Chief really has few investigatory powers to compel cooperation. Yes, it could be an ethical violation by a lawyer, who should then face disbarment, but we don’t live in Beijing or Moscow. There’s no taking Sotomayor to a basement cell for some enhanced interrogation.

    The “reputation” of the Court is in the eye of the beholder. If you are pro-choice, you’re aghast that justices who said Roe was settled law are busy unsettling it at first opportunity. If you’re pro-life, you’re aghast that justices are being harassed outside their homes and personally for a draft opinion that at worst puts the decision back in the democratic process, instead of at the whim of nine unelected elites. Let’s concede, the opinion is potentially the biggest since Brown. We shouldn’t willy nilly start ripping down yet another institution because of some hasty rush to judgment. Yes, the Putin trolls love devising yet one more thing to sour the country. I say we let it play out. As the Brits say, “Keep calm and carry on.”

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  18. It is also possible that there could have been a hack and an unlawful penetration could have been to blame

    For example, Sotomayor may have changed her password to “password” and let that slip.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  19. @17. This seems wildly overstated.

    Pfft. Except it’s not.

    Particularly in the current Age of American Populism, when the “folks” simmering in the caldron of discontent so easily boil over with a low tolerance for government incompetence and screw-ups from all points of the compass and ‘storm the castle.’ It’s how you got Trump in the first place, AJ. And will likely get him again.

    DCSCA (092cd7)

  20. @18. It’s too easy to blame a Sotomayor type or “The Left.” The more you read/listen to our ‘Dancing Alito’- the more the Catholic justice reveals himself to have quite the ego; an almost rigid originalist and not shy about chastising conservative colleagues opinions w/less time on the court who may waver from that POV and side w/more liberal and modern perspectives. He- his office- may very well be the source of the leak- out of a firm commitment to what he sees as the ‘right way’ [1285 and all that] to go- and out of basic pride of authorship. He might just be frustrated and tired of being ‘bigfooted’ by his less tenured colleagues.

    DCSCA (092cd7)

  21. @17. Postscript. The content is irrelevant, AJ; abortion is crabgrass in the lawn of a house on fire. This whole problem is sourced to the leaker.

    Find it. Plug it. Fast. Or their integrity is sunk and the institution becomes forever fodder for late night comedy shows. ‘The Dancing Alitos’ are in dress rehearsal.

    DCSCA (092cd7)

  22. So, wait. Then the individuals who protested Jan 6th ant the Capitol “just happened to be there” and the fact that they were counting electoral votes is immaterial? I’m sure you don’t mean that.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9) — 5/13/2022 @ 11:41 am

    I was speaking about prosecutions under 18 USC 1507. Conspiracy is a different matter.

    Rip Murdock (acd58f)

  23. “abortion is crabgrass in the lawn”

    The subject is the primary reason there was a leak….not some institutional rot that you’re imagining. People struggling to buy groceries and gas don’t care about this ivory tower who-dunnit. At some point the opinion was going to be released and there would be blowback. This gives us a few more months of intense politics…for those that care the most….but that’s democracy! We argue, we protest, and we move on. The leaker has done far less worse than Trump plotting to de-certify the last election….and you were surprisingly silent about that…..hmmmmm.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  24. @23. The leak is the rot, AJ. Hardly imaginary.

    DCSCA (06aafe)

  25. DCSCA:

    You do overwork your points, even when they are good ones.

    The leaker is a problem, not the problem. The Court clearly has insufficient document controls in place. They didn’t need them before, so they figured they would never need them. I mean, everyone there is a person of a certain class, right. And they trust each other, right? If you want to say IDIOT, I don’t blame you.

    But — America — they aren’t all that in a lather about the fact a leak happened. People who care about the court and its operation are distressed — but not your basic voter. They’ve seen Deep Throat and Wikileaks and Reality Winner and they don’t draw a distinction and they really just don’t care. I think Biden’s team is going to rely on that and refuse to be any help and refuse to call off the mob

    You had an excellent point about the reversal of Roe being the take away of a right — and that being a marker of decline — regardless of Roe being a badly reasoned decision. I’m still mulling that one.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  26. The democrat party should send every woman voter in the country a coat hanger with a message :vote democrat or use this. Biden should listen to his voters and do what president jackson did. If you cant stand the heat stay out of the kitchen! Truman. If sammy the fish is upset at protests resign.

    asset (16cec5)

  27. #26

    Suppose the litigant in front of the Court was Donald Trump trying to stay out of jail and he set his band of flying monkeys over to Alto’s house to make sure he was not treated unfairly. Would you be for or against the law prohibiting this sort of demonstration?

    This situation is exactly why the law prohibiting demonstrations in front of judge’s houses exists.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  28. Ego at work: ‘At an Obama SOTU address, Alito shook his head and apparently mouthed “not true” during Obama’s remarks. His was the honest reaction of a judicial activist who believes he has the obligation to impose his version of right reason on the rest of us… ‘After becoming the focus of a small media firestorm in January for visibly disagreeing with President Obama’s comments about the Citizens United case, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in a recent interview that he doesn’t intend to appear at future State of the Union addresses:

    ‘When Supreme Court justices enter the House of Representatives in their black robes for the president’s next State of the Union address, Samuel Alito does not plan to be among them. The justice said the annual speech to Congress has become very political and awkward for the justices, who he says are expected to sit “like the proverbial potted plant.”’ – 10/17/2010 https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/justice-alito-wont-attend-next-state-of-the-union/

    My guess- Catholic Alito leaked his own draft. He put his POV out in public to make HIS case to thwart any persuasive internal efforts by the Chief Justice to change votes, knowing full well the public flack would force the other justices not to change their votes under the guise of caving to public pressure. If it went down this way, it’s deviously clever. And something a politically driven pope from 1285 days might do. 😉

    DCSCA (06aafe)

  29. @25. In this matter, it is the problem. It is the source for all the fallout that has followed.

    DCSCA (06aafe)

  30. But — America — they aren’t all that in a lather about the fact a leak happened.

    Of course not- it’s just another benchmark from a government of screw-ups. And keeps the heat at a boil under the caldron of American Populism.

    DCSCA (06aafe)

  31. @27 NO! I have said the prosecution of jan. 6 protesters was excessive for this very reason. The democrat establishment is always being hoisted on its own petard! Like saying the 2016 election saying using the electorial college was perfect for cheap political gain before the election and then with having jill stein of green party challenge voting problems because they would look like the phony hypocrites they are!

    asset (16cec5)

  32. The leaker was a patriot doing their duty to america! I would not vote to convict if I were on the jury.

    asset (16cec5)

  33. NJRob (85edc0) — 5/13/2022 @ 9:42 am

    There is nothing the 3 leftists on the court could write that would make the other justices consider Roe and Casey to be constitutional since they’ve been unconstitutional from the beginning.

    It’s not that.

    It’s the principle of collegiality, and the fact that all justices are equal (except the Chief in some procedural and court supervision matters) and the fact that every justice is going to be on the losing side in some cases, that leads to the proposition that each justice should have enough time to develop his reasoning – a justice can’t hold off a decision past the end of the term of course. They wouldn’t agree to that.

    I also think the Court, in recent years, likes to break the news about controversial decisions at the latest possible time – but this may also have to do with allowing time and opportunity for each justice to write rejoinders if they want to.

    What the leftists could write, by the way, is a paean to stare decisis.

    Which the Warren court paid no attention to.

    Stare decisis tends to be honored, even though that leaves further development of the law with nothing to hang on.

    They haven’t overruled Miranda – which was not even a constitutional decision I think but an administrative policy for the courts. (except for the question: How does the top federal court get to make rules for state courts?)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  34. That would be immaterial in assessing an individual protester’s guilt.

    Not as conspiracy.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9) — 5/13/2022 @ 11:39 am

    Conspiracy to do what? To commit 18 USC 1507? You’d have to prove the same intent for conspiracy to commit 18 USC 1507 as you would to prove 18 USC 1507 itself. If a protester carries a sign that says “Change your vote!,” or there are texts showing a plan to influence the vote, great. That’s a strong case. But absent such direct evidence, I strongly doubt the ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose of the demonstrations wasn’t merely to express outrage and/or rally attention to the cause.

    Remember, 18 USC 1507 isn’t limited to demonstrations at a judge’s residence. It also prohibits demonstrating outside a courthouse for the same illicit purpose (i.e., influencing the judge’s decision). Considering how common courthouse demonstrations are and how rare prosecutions under 18 USC 1507, it’s apparently a pretty hard law to enforce. And that’s in addition to whether the statute is even constitutional, which Ken White seems to doubt.

    (BTW, Kevin, I just noticed the link you posted to the La Cantera apartments. Thanks for that. I’ll pass it along.)

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  35. Intent is a permissible inference for the finder of fact. And intending to influence a public official through mere speech (no bribery or threats) is a fundamental American right.

    Focus on what Alito’s neighbors did to deserve it. That’s where the ducks are. Time, place, and manner.

    nk (4397f4)

  36. When Rosa Parks did not give up her seat on the bus to a white man she broke the law. So did harriet tubman broke the fugitve slace act among many other southern laws as she led slaves to freedom. The supreme court ruled in favor of the internment of japanese americans in 1944. The stonewall riots were about gay bars being illegal as was selling a drink to a gay person. I could go on. The first amendment gives us the “right” to protest ;but as I have said their are no rights only privileges as the law is what 5 justices say it is. As Malcolm X and John Brown said. By any means necessary!

    asset (b86309)

  37. What are Malcolm and John doing these days, anyway? You don’t see them around much. Don’t tell me somebody did a “by any means necessary” on them?

    I’ll grant you that alternate realities are the best realities, and the best wars are imaginary wars. But look out for those whole grain cereals. Diverticulitis.

    nk (843195)

  38. nk (843195) — 5/14/2022 @ 6:35 am

    Outstanding comment, sir! You are the antihistamine of choice for all the allergens present.

    felipe (484255)

  39. Aw, shucks, felipe, tweren’t nuthin’!

    nk (843195)

  40. @37 The tyrants power ends with their deaths and the martyr’s power begins with theirs. Union troops were singing john brown’s body lies a moldering in the grave glory glory hallelujah! on their way to battle before the lyrics were changed to appease the slave states that stayed in the union. Only wimp corporate establishment liberal say we can only do pacifism. The left does not agree. Our side has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    asset (7bbad8)

  41. lurker (cd7cd4) — 5/13/2022 @ 4:09 pm

    8 USC 1507 itself. If a protester carries a sign that says “Change your vote!,” or there are texts showing a plan to influence the vote, great. That’s a strong case. But absent such direct evidence, I strongly doubt the ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose of the demonstrations wasn’t merely to express outrage and/or rally attention to the cause.

    The only point of demonstrating at someone’s house is to intimidate, and there is no other rational basis for it. THAT’S THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND THE DISAPPROVAL OF DOXXING.

    Tt’s a deliberate escalation beyond demonstrating at the court — AND is more out of the way. It’s not onlyy not a first choice – it’s a harder to do choice.

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  42. There is a New Yorkgun case decision coming up, which hasn’t leaked. Plaintiffs are challenging arbitrary power of police to determine who gets a gun license, with most, except law enforcement, ex-law enforcement, and very rich people being and some people transporting large sums of money being denied.

    (on the merits, letting a lot of good guys have a guns is not a remedy to bad guys having guns – unless you like shootouts.)/

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

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