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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that prohibits pickets and protests in front of private residences.
The conservative governor signed HB 1571 on Monday.
Pro-abortion demonstrators have protested right outside the private homes of Supreme Court justices in the past two weeks in an attempt to convince them to stop them from reversing Roe v. Wade. The pickets were sparked by the unprecedented leaking of the draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that could completely reverse Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, is inappropriate,” DeSantis stated on Monday. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”
“Once this law takes effect, law enforcement officers will provide a warning to any person picketing or protesting outside of a dwelling and will make arrests for residential picketing only if the person does not peaceably disperse after the warning,” the governor’s office explained. “Residential picketing will be punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.”
The bill had been in the works since January 2022 but progressed through the chambers quickly after the protests against Supreme Court justices began. Justices Alito, Barrett, Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts have all been targeted for protests outside their homes.
The Biden Administration has endorsed the protests. Former Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on May 10 that the White House supports “peaceful protest” and the gathering outside of private homes has been “peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges’ homes, and that’s the president’s position.”
A former federal prosecutor criticized the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Merrick Garland for not acting swiftly to quell protests that may be illegal under federal law.
18 U.S. Code § 1507 prohibits demonstrations outside “a building or residence occupied or used by such judge” with the “intent of influencing any judge.”
Andy McCarthy told Fox News on May 10 that the refusal of the White House and the Department of Justice to condemn the protests was motivated by political interests.
“They are elevating their political interest in portraying the draft Supreme Court opinion as extreme over their constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully and protect both the Court and the justices,” he said.
McCarthy compared it to the DOJ memo directing the FBI to monitor parents at school board meetings despite there not being a clear federal jurisdiction over the “threats of violence.”
“By contrast, the protection of the Supreme Court as an institution, and of the justices’ security, are patently federal matters over which federal law enforcement has clear jurisdiction,” McCarthy told Fox News. “It is inexcusable that the Justice Department is so silent and passive now when it was loud and active over a manufactured controversy as to which it had no jurisdiction.”