US Marshals were told not to arrest protesters at Supreme Court justices’ homes ‘unless absolutely necessary’
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US Marshals were told not to arrest protesters at Supreme Court justices’ homes ‘unless absolutely necessary’

The US Marshals Service, which was dispatched to protect the homes of Supreme Court justices last year, was advised to refrain from arresting protesters “unless absolutely necessary,” according to training documents obtained by the office of Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala.

“Avoid, unless absolutely necessary, criminal enforcement actions involving the protest or protesters, particularly in public space,” one portion of the training said.

A whistleblower “concerned about the attorney general‘s misleading testimony before the Judiciary Committee” provided Britt’s office with the documents, according to a spokesperson who spoke to Politico.

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Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacted to the Dobbs ruling.

Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacted to the Dobbs ruling. (Joshua Comins/Fox News)

Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned the US Marshals Service to the homes of Supreme Court justices last summer following protests in the wake of the leak of the decision in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Conservatives have argued that the protests that broke out after the leak violated federal law prohibiting protests outside a judge’s home that intend to influence a verdict. Garland had earlier claimed that US Marshals “have full authority to arrest people under any federal statute, including that federal statute.”

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Police officers watch as pro-choice advocates demonstrating outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on May 18, 2022.

Police officers watch as pro-choice advocates demonstrating outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on May 18, 2022. (Bonnie Cash/Getty Images)

According to the training materials, Department of Justice lawyers seem to have concluded that applying the statute to peaceful protests directed at the justices could potentially violate the First Amendment.

“The ‘intent of influencing any judge’ language thus logically goes to threats and intimidation, not 1st [Amendment] protected protest activities,” according to the training materials, which noted that arrests should be made only as a “last resort to present physical harm to the Justices and/or their families.”

Britt presented the training protocol to Garland during a congressional hearing Tuesday, during which the attorney general claimed never to have seen the slides before, according to Politico.

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, on Nov.  18, 2022.

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, on Nov. 18, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

He told Britt he did not wish to amend his previous statement regarding US Marshals being empowered to arrest protesters for violating the federal statute regarding intimidating judges.

“There’s nothing for me to amend because, as I said, I’ve never seen those slides before,” Garland said.

“The Attorney General has been clear from the very beginning and on repeated occasions that the Marshals’ number one priority is to protect the justices, their families and their property,” Director of the US Marshals Service Ronald L. Davis told Fox News Digital in a statement.

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“He has also from the beginning made clear that we have the full authority to enforce any federal statute, including 1507, to the extent doing so doesn’t compromise the lives and safety of the justices. To accomplish this mission, I directed that training be provided to deputies assigned to this detail that places the safety of the justices and their families first. We will review the training materials on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains consistent with this directive,” Davis added.

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