by Richard L. Anderson
Following the leak of a draft United States Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the country and our Commonwealth have seen Democrat extremism on full display. They have seen the release of a draft, pre-decisional document, which is itself a threat to the judicial process. They have also seen extreme pro-abortion activists gather outside the private residences of Supreme Court Justices in Virginia, threatening their safety and that of their families. These blatant acts of intimidation go far beyond legitimate political protest and should be condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Since Roe v. Wade was first decided in 1973, legal scholars on both the right and the left have held that the decision has no basis in Constitutional law and was wrongly decided. For liberals, Roe is merely a mechanism for leveraging the power of the federal judiciary to produce a preferred policy outcome. For conservatives, Roe is an affront to both an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and basic human decency.
With a solid 6-3 majority of originalist Justices on the Supreme Court, the decision to revisit Roe is not surprising. What is both shocking and abhorrent is the deranged reaction of the left to the ruling, including demonstrations outside the homes of Justices and threats against their families,something that is both despicable and illegal under both federal and state law.
According to Section 1507 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, protestors may not demonstrate near a “residence occupied or used by [a] judge, juror, witness, or court officer,” and anyone who violates this statute shall be subject to fine or imprisonment for up to one year, or both. The purpose of this statute is clear – to prevent an angry, irrational mob from using threats or harassment to influence judicial outcomes.
When demonstrators threatened outside Justice Kavanaugh’s home that “If you take away our choices, we will riot” and marched on Justice Alito’s house yelling “Abort the Court,” the message was clear: Yield to our demands, or else.
The actions of these demonstrators also violate Article 4 – 18.2-419 of the Code of Virginia, which clearly states that “any person who shall engage in picketing before or about the residence or dwelling place of any individual, or who shall assemble with another person or persons in a manner which disrupts orthreatens to disrupt any individual’s right to tranquility in his home, shall be guilty of a Class3 misdemeanor.”
Gov. Youngkin has taken the correct course by working closely with the Virginia State Police and federal and local law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the Justices and their families in the face of these unlawful threats. While some have called for the Governor to arrest the demonstrators, that authority rests with local police, not state troopers.
Ultimately, however, it is up to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steven Descano to prosecute these crimes.So far, both have failed to act. Both are in dereliction of their sworn Constitutional duty.
Even more, the bullying tactics of these far-left Democrat protestors have been cheered on by Democrat officials at both the federal and state level. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hasrefused to condemn the protests. The Virginia Democrat Party has also failed to denounce these unlawful protests, while finding the time to call for the repeal of virtually every abortion regulation in our Commonwealth.
Virginia Democrats’ radicalism on abortion is nothing new. In 2019, Democratic Del. Kathy Tran introduced a bill that would have removed all restrictions on abortion in Virginia. In a shocking line of questioning from now-Republican House Speaker Todd Gilbert, Ms. Tran admitted that abortion would be allowed up until the moment of birth as long as a doctor certified that giving birth would merely have a negative effect on a woman’s mental health. Former Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed the bill, and even admitted that were a baby to be born alive as a result of a failed abortion, the infant would only be kept alive “if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”
Virginia Republicans will continue to defend the right to life for the unborn and fight Democrats’ attempts to install radical and extreme policies like allowing for late term and partial birth abortions in our Commonwealth at public expense. Conservatives are on the right side of history, and we will not back down from this fight.
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Rich Anderson is a retired 30-year Air Force colonel and eight-year member of the House of Delegates. Today, he chairs the Republican Party of Virginia.