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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 01, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – A Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance directed to U.S. Marshals in light of protests at Supreme Court Justices’ homes after the initial Dobbs leak directed them not to make arrests except to “prevent physical harm.” 

The guidance, given to Alabama Republican Sen. Katie Britt by a DOJ whistleblower who objected to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee early this month, states that arresting protesters was “not the goal (sic)” of deployment to the Justices’ homes and to arrest protesters only to “prevent physical harm.”  

The alleged directive contradicts a federal law that says “picketing or parading” with the “intent of influencing any judge … in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near … a building or residence occupied or used by such judge” shall be fined or imprisoned up to a year. 

Mentioning the law, however, the guidance directs Marshals that arrests could invite legal challenges to it, and thus the Marshals should avoid making arrests. The guidance further states that Marshals should only make arrests if they coordinate with federal prosecutors, warning that it could be “counterproductive” to make arrests on cases the DOJ would not charge and prosecute. 

The guidance contradicts testimony that Garland gave to the Judiciary Committee early this month, in which he said that Marshals were free to make arrests, Britt says. 

When Britt confronted Garland about the guidance during a Senate appropriations hearing earlier this week, Garland maintained that he was unaware of the guidance’s existence. Garland further reiterated the claim he made before the Judiciary Committee earlier this month, holding that Marshals were free to make arrests 

After the leak of the Dobbs decision last May, a swarm of protesters descended on the homes of the conservative Supreme Court Justices. When asked what President Joe Biden’s position on the protests was, then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “I don’t have an official U.S. government position on where people protest.  

In June, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged a similar question, saying that the White House has refused to “weigh in on where people should or should not protest. That month, an attempt was made on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s life by a 26-year-old California man that was worried that the ruling, which Kavanaugh joined, would help to overturn Roe v. Wade.