A battle over how to fight for Roe: Protests at judges’ homes fuel resentment

But critics say protesters shouldn’t be there at all. Some Republicans have pointed to a 1950 federal law that states that anyone “with intent to influence a judge” who “pickets or marches in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such a judge,” would violate the law.The Justice Department declined to comment when asked about possible prosecution.

“You must vigorously investigate and prosecute the crimes committed in recent days,” Sen. Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, wrote in a letter to the Justice Department. “The rule of law demands nothing less.”

The protests were not limited to Washington. Over the weekend, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, called police on protesters who used chalk on the sidewalk outside her Bangor home to write a message asking her to support right-to-right legislation to abortion. Two churches in Colorado were vandalized last week with spray-painted messages of “my body, my choice”.

Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez, a Whittier College professor specializing in global social movements, said history has shown that protests — even those that make people uncomfortable — are sometimes necessary to create change. She pointed to the civil rights movement, when students like John Lewis, who became a congressman from Georgia, were arrested dozens of times for sitting at whites-only counters and other protests against Jim Crow-era laws in the South.

“I’m not convinced the line is whether it’s legal or illegal,” Ms. Overmyer-Velázquez said. “I think the question is, is this decision really going to have a very, very serious impact on our lives? And it definitely is.

She said the question was not whether the protests were legal, but whether they were “moral”.

Mr. Biden has faced this kind of question before.

After protests and riots erupted in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, the Biden campaign repeatedly condemned the violence and looting. And last year, lawyers targeted two Democratic senators wielding Mr Biden’s national agenda – taking kayaks to protest near a yacht belonging to Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and following Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona in the university toilets.

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