The White House on Monday condemned “violence, threats, or vandalism” after protesters held demonstrations outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court Justices over the weekend.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the Biden administration’s support for the right to protest but said the justices should not feel that their safety is in jeopardy.
”.@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety,” Psaki said in a tweet Monday morning.
Last week, Politico published a leaked draft opinion authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito showing the court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in a case concerning a Mississippi abortion law. The opinion would be the most consequential abortion decision in decades and transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America. Protesters on both sides of the issue assembled almost immediately, fanning out across the country from the steps of the Supreme Court to Georgia to California.
And over the weekend, pro-abortion rights protesters gathered outside the private homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in Chevy Chase, Maryland, outside Washington, DC.
“Keep abortion safe and legal,” a few dozen protesters chanted on the street of the tony, tree-lined streets outside the justices’ homes. Many held handmade signs.
“Keep your rosaries off our ovaries,” they said.
The protests were organized, in part, by Kavanaugh neighbor Lacie Wooten-Holway, who told The Washington Post, “I organize peaceful candlelit vigils in front of his house. … We’re about to get doomsday, so I’m not going to be civil to that man at all.”
While protests around the country have largely peaceful, law enforcement officials in the nation’s capital have been bracing for potential security risks. Last week, an 8-foot-tall, non-scalable fence was installed around parts of the Supreme Court building, and crews set up concrete Jersey barriers blocking the street in front of the court – a sign that officials are worried that protests, which have so far been peaceful, could turn less so.
Law enforcement officials from the National Fusion Center Association hosted a call Wednesday last with roughly 150 participants to alert state and local partners about demonstrations nationwide that have resulted in some physical confrontations, other possible demonstrations and the uptick of social media chatter, according to sources familiar with the call.
The office of a conservative political organization that lobbies against abortion rights was vandalized and damaged by fire on Sunday morning in Madison, Wisconsin, in what police are investigating as arson.
Following the court’s confirmation that the leaked draft opinion was authentic, President Joe Biden condemned it. Psaki also reiterated the White House’s calls for Congress to act to codify the women’s reproductive health protections established in Roe v. Wade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring a bill codifying Roe to the floor for a vote on Wednesday. The Senate already voted once on the Women’s Health Protection Act in March, but it is expected to fail in the Senate again amid widespread Republican opposition to the measure. It does not have the support needed to overcome the 60 vote-threshold needed to pass legislation in the chamber.
CNN’s Whitney Wild, Hannah Sarisohn, Eric Levenson and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.