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The Department of Justice has failed to enforce a federal statute which prohibits protests, pickets, and other forms of intimidation outside the home of judges.
It is illegal under federal law to attempt to influence a judge’s ruling or interfere with the discharge of their duty. However, the Department of Justice has thus far refused to interfere with demonstrators outside the homes of several Supreme Court justices, including Justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh. While the DOJ has provided security at the justices’ homes, they have allowed protests and picketing to continue unimpeded.
John Daukas, retired Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, told Fox News that the ongoing pressure from activists for an as-of-yet unreleased decision is a clear violation of federal law.
“It certainly is illegal,” Daukas told Fox News Digital. “And it is right there in the sweet spot of the statute.”
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According to 18 U.S. Code § 1507: “Whoever, 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, pickets or parades 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 judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
The statute, Draukas says, “is designed exactly to prevent people from intimidating, harassing, or influencing any judge.”
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The 1507 statute was put into law on Sept. 23, 1950 to curb public intimidation of judges ruling on the legality of Jim Crow laws. The federal government at the time aimed to curb influence on judicial review of laws implemented during reconstruction.
“The judiciary is supposed to ignore public sentiment and public opinion and follow the law and do what the law says,” Draukas told Fox News Digital. “And that’s their job. And that’s why it’s not okay to intimidate judges or harass judges. In other words, there is no reason — there’s no legitimate reason — to try to influence a judge by picketing and so forth, because the judge is not supposed to listen to that kind of thing.”
Daukas went on to speculate that a matter this important and in the public eye would be handled by at least the attorney general, if not cross the desk of the president.
“I’ve worked with many, many, really terrific, wonderful people at the Department of Justice who were dedicated civil servants. And there are a tremendous number of great people there. But, you know, policy starts from the top here. And I think this is all coming from the White House and then down to the attorney general, who’s the one who sets the policy and the priorities.”
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Another former high-ranking Department of Justice official who agreed to speak on background told Fox News Digital that the DOJ must explain why it has failed to enforce the statute.
“I certainly haven’t seen any action by the attorney general or the Justice Department or the president to do anything about any of this. I just find that appalling,” the former official said. “When you have these pro-abortion groups publicizing home addresses and schools and houses of worship and organizing protests at the houses of Supreme Court justices — some of these people including Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh have young children. And the Justice Department is doing nothing — at least nothing visible — about it. That raises very serious questions about why and what the department is trying to accomplish here.”
He added, “Maybe there’s something in the works, I don’t know, but it would be wholly appropriate for the attorney general and the president to speak against this conduct publicly. They don’t have to reveal internal deliberative processes about possible indictments.”
The DOJ refused to comment on the statute when contacted by Fox News Digital. Instead, a spokesperson for the department pointed to previous comments from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has only briefly acknowledged the situation.
In a press conference last week, Garland said, “The Justice Department takes extraordinarily seriously any violence, any criminal threats of violence, intimation, harassment, of the Justices or of any government officials. For that reason, we swiftly moved to provide 24/7 protection for the Justices, including of their residences. For that reason, I called a meeting with the Marshal of the Supreme Court, with the Director of the Marshals Service, with the Deputy Director of the FBI, and with our prosecutors right from the very beginning, to be sure that we were assessing all possible threats and providing all resources available.”
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Garland went on to pledge support for legislation currently moving through Congress to provide additional security and safety for justices in the future.
“I also met with the Judges – Judge Salas and Judge Sullivan – of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security and pledged our full support as well as our support for the legislation that they are seeking. There is currently legislation passing through Congress and the Justice Department is extremely supportive of that security legislation.”
Pro-choice group Ruth Sent Us hinted at targeting protests at Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett after the attempted attack on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Ruth Sent Us specifically noted the Barrett family’s daily schedule and the school her children attend.
However, the safety of Supreme Court justices is not the only issue faced by the DOJ. The department has also been in hot water for a perceived lack of enforcement regarding vandalism and destruction of pro-life pregnancy centers and houses of worship.
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The pro-choice group “Jane’s Revenge” has recently taken credit for attacks on pro-life organizations, including for the attack on Wisconsin Family Action last month and throwing red paint on a crisis pregnancy center in Washington, D.C. last week.
CatholicVote published a letter Friday, addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding action on a string of violent and destructive crimes against pro-life pregnancy centers in the U.S. The letter, co-signed by over a dozen political organizations, expressed serious concern for the well-being of pro-life activists in the face of recurring violence following the leak of a Supreme Court draft decision which would overturn Roe v. Wade.
“One extremist group is advocating for violence in response to the final Supreme Court decision on Dobbs, while another group has published home addresses, and encouraged people to show up at Supreme Court Justices’ homes, churches, and their children’s schools in an attempt to coerce the Justices and influence their final decision,” the letter reads.
The letter – sent to the Attorney General’s Office by CatholicVote – was cosigned by other heavyweight activist organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Heritage Foundation.
Fox News contacted the DOJ for comment on the spree of vandalism. The DOJ directed Fox News to take their questions to the FBI.