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The White House said it has “not seen violence” against Supreme Court justices, and stressed that it “does not support” violence and vandalism at churches and conservative organizations, as demonstrations continue amid fallout from the release of a draft opinion signaling the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said the White House has “been clear” that President Biden’s position is that “we should not see protests that take the form of violence, that take the form of vandalism and that threatens anyone.”
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“That has long been his position for his entire career and continues to be his position,” Psaki said.
Psaki said, though, that they “have not seen violence or vandalism against Supreme Court justices.”
“We have seen it at Catholic churches. That’s unacceptable. The president does not support that,” Psaki explained. “We have seen it at some conservative organizations. We don’t support that.”
She added: “We know the passion. We understand the passion. We understand the concern. But what the president’s position is, is that that should be peaceful—the protests.”
Psaki, earlier in the day, stressed that Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest.”
“But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism,” Psaki tweeted. “Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”
According to federal U.S. code 1507, 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.”
Pro-choice groups protested outside the homes of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend.
The group “Ruth Sent Us,” which is named after late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had called on abortion supporters to gather outside the homes of the “six extremist Catholics set out to overturn Roe” and “stand at or in a local Catholic Church” on Mother’s Day.
Psaki said that the White House is “certainly not suggesting anyone break any laws,” and doubled down on the president’s position that “violence, threats and intimidation have no place in political discourse.”
“Yes, we are a country that promotes democracy and we certainly allow for peaceful protest and a range of places in the country,” Psaki said. “None of it should violate the law, no one is suggesting that, and it should never resort to violence, to threats, to intimidation in any way, shape or form. But that is what our position is and the president’s position is.”
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Meanwhile, the group “Shut Down DC” is expected to stage a protest outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito on Monday evening. Alito authored the majority draft opinion, which was leaked to the public last week.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court” for the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, abortions would be left for the states to decide.
Meanwhile, outside the nation’s capital, an arsonist threw at least one Molotov cocktail into an office of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), a pro-life activist group. Police are investigating the incident as arson and connected it to the aftermath from the leaked draft opinion.
The president “strongly” condemned the attack and “political violence of any stripe.”
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“The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view,” the White House said in a statement. “But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate.”