Supreme Court security chief demands Maryland governor, county, do more to protect justices

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Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley sent letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Montgomery County, Md., Executive Marc Elrich (D) demanding that they enforce existing laws and do a better job protecting justices whose lives have been threatened.

Greta Van Susteren of Newsmax revealed the existence of the letters in two posts on Twitter time-stamped the evening of July 1.

The letters came after authorities foiled a June 8 attempt to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his Maryland home in the suburbs of the nation’s capital.

According to an FBI affidavit (pdf), suspect Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, Calif., said he wanted to kill Kavanaugh to prevent him from voting to overturn abortion rights and gun control laws. Roske, who was found with a pistol, ammunition, pepper spray, and other items, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Maryland on June 15 and formally charged with attempting to murder a Supreme Court justice, contrary to federal law. He has entered a plea of not guilty.

Other individuals have threatened the lives of various justices, and protests at justices’ homes in Maryland have intensified in recent weeks.

As Marshal, Curley is responsible for court security, the court’s police force, and the personal safety of the justices, wrote Hogan on July 1 requesting that “the Maryland State Police, in conjunction with local authorities as appropriate, enforce laws that prohibit picketing outside of the homes of Supreme Court Justices who live in Maryland.”

Curley wrote that state law provides a person “may not intentionally assemble with another in a manner that disrupts a person’s right to tranquility in the person’s home.” Violators face 90 days in prison or a $100 fine or both and courts are allowed to issue injunctions against the conduct and award damages, she added.

Montgomery County prohibits picketing “in front of or adjacent to any private residence,” the letter states, adding that violators face fines of $100 to $200 plus 30 days in prison.

Curley noted that in a joint letter with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), Hogan had said he was “deeply concerned” about demonstrations outside the homes of justices in Maryland that used “threatening language” and that jeopardized “the integrity of our American judicial system and the safety of our citizens.”

“Since then, protest activity at Justices’ homes, as well as threatening activity, has only increased,” Curley wrote. “For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes in Maryland,” she said, adding this “is exactly the kind of conduct” that state and county laws forbid.

Curley’s letter to Elrich reminded the county executive of his enforcement obligations and of a comment he made after a recent protest in front of a justice’s home in the county. “If everybody’s going to protest everybody who does something at their houses, we’re going to have a very hard time maintaining civil society,” she quoted Elrich saying.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Fairfax County, Va., Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano (D) have been widely criticized for refusing to enforce federal and state laws against pro-abortion activists who have been threatening and attempting to intimidate Supreme Court justices and their families who reside in Virginia, according to a report by Hans A. von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation. This failure to act is egging on the “summer of rage” against the court that left-wing activists have promised, the scholar argues.

Federal law, von Spakovsky writes, makes it a criminal offense to parade or picket “near a building or residence occupied or used by [a federal] judge, juror, witness, or court officer” 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, in the discharge of his duty.”

Von Spakovsky urges Youngkin and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) “to step in and use their statutory power to arrest, prosecute, and seek the maximum penalty for every day the protesters are violating the law.”

Congress took action last month.

In response to the threats, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the proposed Supreme Court Police Parity Act on May 5, three days after Politico published a leaked court opinion showing the justices were poised to overturn the abortion precedent Roe v. Wade, something they ended up doing in a June 24 ruling. The leak was followed by a nationwide outpouring of anger and threats by pro-abortion activists. Curley is investigating the leak but few details of the probe have been made public.

The bill moved quickly through Congress and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 16.

The measure grants the Supreme Court “security-related authorities equivalent to the legislative and executive branches.” It also gives the court marshal authority to provide protection for members of the justices’ immediate families and for “any officer of the Supreme Court if the Marshal determines such protection is necessary.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Hogan and Elrich but they did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This article by Matthew Vadum appeared July 2, 2022, in The Epoch Times.