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The White House on Tuesday said it encourages “peaceful” protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices, while criticizing those on the right who have expressed “outrage” over Roe v. Wade demonstrations but were “silent” when protests against school boards, abortion clinics and the capitol riot.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday doubled down on the president’s stance regarding protests.
“I think I said yesterday, but I’m happy to repeat because I think it’s important for everybody to hear that the president’s long-standing view has been that violence, threats and intimidation of any kind have no place in political discourse,” Psaki said Tuesday. “And we believe, of course, in peaceful protests.”
Psaki added: “What I do find interesting, and I think most many people have noted, is that there are voices on the right who have called out these protests that are happening while remaining silent for years on protests that have happened outside of the homes of school board members, the Michigan secretary of state, or including threats made to women seeking reproductive health care or even an insurrection against our capital.”
“So, I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges homes,” Psaki continued. “And that’s the president’s position.”
She added: “But the silence is pretty deafening about all of the other intimidation that we’ve seen to a number of people.”
Psaki was referring to parents protesting at school board meetings over COVID mask mandates, the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, and pro-life protesters targeting women’s reproductive health centers.
According to federal U.S. code 1507, any individual who “pickets or parades” 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” near a U.S. court or “near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” will be fined, or “imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
When pressed on whether protesters were violating federal law, Psaki replied:
“I think that intimidation and protests and intimidation outside of the homes of school board members, the Michigan secretary of state, you know, intimidation and threats against people seeking legal reproductive health care and against our capital and American democracy also warrant some outrage, and we haven’t really seen that.”
The comments come after pro-choice protesters staged demonstrations outside the homes of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend. Protesters on Monday night also staged a demonstration outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito.
Alito authored the majority draft opinion, which was leaked to the public last week.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court” for the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, abortions would be left for the states to decide.
Meanwhile, outside the nation’s capital, an arsonist threw at least one Molotov cocktail into an office of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), a pro-life activist group. Police are investigating the incident as arson and connected it to the aftermath from the leaked draft opinion.
The president “strongly” condemned the attack and “political violence of any stripe.”
“The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view,” the White House said in a statement. “But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate.”
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