Tens of millions of people are righteously angry at the six Supreme Court justices who stole reproductive rights from them. The court’s “Dobbs” decision takes away the right to control one’s own body.
Commonly called the Free Speech law, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is supposed to protect “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Free speech includes the right to protest at the homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Yet the head of the Supreme Court police service is demanding government officials crack down on demonstrators and possibly jail them. Gail Curley, Marshal of the Supreme Court, complained that “large groups” [actually 50 to 100 people] “chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes.”
These protesters were expressing the outrage of the majority of the country at the unelected high court.
A mere five of these “justices” can order the execution of an innocent person. That’s what happened on Sept. 21, 2011, when the Supreme Court approved Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis despite the pleas of Pope Benedict and former FBI Director William Sessions.
Two years before the execution of Davis, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, in voting against an earlier stay of execution, declared that it’s not unconstitutional to execute innocent people.
But please no bullhorns and banging drums!
Marshal Curley has been joined by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in calling for cops to stop the protests.
The Washington Post claims that these millionaire justices are facing “unceasing harassment and intimidation.” Harassment and intimidation is actually what 1.1 million Amazon workers face on a daily basis from their big boss, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
Bezos is the third richest man on earth, with a $139 billion fortune. As the late A. J. Liebling wrote, freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.
Bezos is now trying to prevent Amazon employees from talking to their fellow workers while off the clock about joining a union. This union buster wants to destroy free speech.
Tear gas and red baiting
After a 10-year-old girl in Ohio was raped and had to go to Indiana to get an abortion, the Wall Street Journal called this “an abortion story too good to confirm.” It was confirmed but the Journal has refused to apologize.
Gov. Hogan spent $400,000 on a private law firm to try to stop Maryland workers from receiving federal unemployment benefits.
The state’s Department of Labor delayed unemployment benefits to thousands of workers. That’s a crime. Picketing reactionary judges is not a crime.
Marshal Curley didn’t condemn Arizona cops who tear gassed 1,500 people demonstrating against the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in Phoenix on June 24. The Wall Street Journal did not express any concern about club-swinging Los Angeles police who on the same date clubbed and beat journalists covering a protest against the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
Along with these police attacks is the red baiting. “Is This Communist ‘Cult’ Trying to Hijack the Abortion Movement?,” was a July 10 headline in the Daily Beast.
The article attacks Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which carried out the courageous protests at the Supreme Court justices’ homes. The Daily Beast claims the group is linked to the Revolutionary Communist Party.
This reeks of Sen. Joe McCarthy and the anti-communist witch hunt. It’s reminiscent of the attacks against the ANSWER coalition and the late Ramsey Clark for organizing anti-war protests 20 years ago.
Objecting to picketing capitalists’ homes isn’t new. Lucy Parsons organized marches of poor people going to wealthy neighborhoods demanding food. Her partner Albert Parsons was hanged with three other martyrs for demanding an eight-hour work day.
In 1964, the NAACP Youth Council in Milwaukee and its adviser, Rev. James Groppi, were attacked for picketing the homes of judges who refused to resign from the all-white Eagles Club.
Most of the unconstitutional laws forbidding demonstrations at homes were enacted to try to stop the civil rights movement.
Harassing women isn’t free speech
What isn’t free speech is harassing women going to reproductive health centers. Abortion is healthcare.
The police and the courts helped hate groups like the misnamed Operation Rescue harass women. Dr. David Gunn was murdered during a 1993 anti-abortion protest at the Women’s Medical Services clinic in Pensacola, Florida.
So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld injunctions that prevent bigots from getting too close to clinics. But the reactionary majority seek to narrow any protection.
In Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, the court in 1994 upheld a buffer zone around the clinic that prevented bigots from getting any closer than 36 feet. Compare that to election day when distributors of handbills and palm cards are prevented from coming within 100 feet of a polling place.
In the same decision, the court overturned part of the injunction that stopped bigots from harassing women with cat calls and displays of bloody images. These obscenities wouldn’t be tolerated near a hospital.
We can’t count on the capitalist courts to guarantee our free speech rights. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the jailing of Eugene Debs for making an anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio.
What perhaps most upset the corporation lawyers on the court was his denunciation of their 5-4 decision that threw out a law prohibiting child labor. This was the “good old days” when millions of girls and boys worked in sweatshops and mines.
Debs compared it to a “kind of craps [dice] game — come seven, come ‘leven — they declared the child labor law unconstitutional.” While in prison Eugene Debs ran for president as a socialist and received almost a million votes.
It’s the power of the people that will protect our rights to organize and free speech. People have the right to confront that sexist pig, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while he’s pigging out on steaks at a fancy restaurant.
What’s criminal are bigots on the high court who want to go back to the days of coat hangers and abortions in alleys.As the protesters chanted near one of these justices’ mansions, “No privacy for us, no peace for you!”