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AG Garland under growing pressure to enforce federal law prohibiting picketing outside justices’ homes

Attorney General Merrick Garland is facing growing political pressure to enforce federal law that prohibits picketing outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes for the purpose of influencing a decision. 

Federal U.S. code 1507, states that 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.” 

The Biden administration has encouraged protesting outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes over the leaked abortion decision so long as it remains peaceful. Garland’s DOJ, meanwhile, has yet to bring any charges against protesters targeting the justices’ homes, even after the alleged assassination attempt against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

The DOJ’s hands-off approach has left critics baffled. 

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Former Trump administration Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News Digital that the “law is crystal clear” and that “protests at a judge’s residence to influence a judge is a federal crime, and the law should be enforced.”

“The Administration’s talking point that it supports the First Amendment is a non-answer,” Barr said in an email. “The right to protest has always been subject to reasonable ‘time, place, and manner’ restrictions, like the federal law prohibiting demonstrations outside a judge’s residence.”

“Demonstrations in violation of the statute are not legitimate First Amendment activity,” he continued.

Conservative legal group Judicial Crisis Network concurred with the former attorney general, telling Fox News Digital that the protests are illegal and that picketing outside of justices’ residents can potentially affect the impartiality of the court.

“The relevant federal statute prohibits pickets and parades in front of a judge’s home, including for the purpose of influencing a judge,” Judicial Crisis Network executive director Carrie Severino told Fox News Digital. “I would love to know why Merrick Garland is refusing to enforce this law as protesters continue to gather at the justices’ private residences – especially after the apparent attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh.”

The DOJ’s response to the protests at justices’ homes has drawn attention on Capitol Hill as well. 

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., blasted Garland as “a partisan hack who should resign in disgrace for dereliction of duty.” 

Sen. Tom Cotton questions Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Oct. 27, 2021.

“A Democratic hitman tried to murder Justice Kavanaugh and his family. On the same day, left-wing street militias announced publicly they would picket his residence and the homes of other conservative justices,” Cotton told Fox News Digital. “This act of intimidation is a clear violation of federal law and Merrick Garland has done nothing.”

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“His primary job is to enforce the law, and he has failed totally,” the Republican senator continued. “If he won’t resign, then we’ll impeach him once Republicans control the Congress in January. Either way, he is finished.”

The DOJ didn’t return Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

Fox News Digital’s Kelly Laco contributed reporting.

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