A crowd of protesters — evidently perceived as substantial enough to warrant a police presence — showed up outside the D.C.-area home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday night. The protesters were there to advocate for abortion rights after the emergence of a draft majority opinion from the court that would overturn the decision in Roe v. Wade that laid out the legally recognized nationwide right to an abortion. Although Justices could still change their minds before the court’s final conclusions are released, Kavanaugh backed the draft majority opinion.
The size of the crowd was identified by a D.C. CBS affiliate as in the dozens. In the middle of a residential neighborhood, dozens of people participating in street protests seem, of course, immediately noticeable. The targeted house wasn’t actually within the bounds of the nation’s capital — it’s in Maryland, where demonstrators also appeared outside the home of Chief Justice John Roberts. The Chief Justice hasn’t expressed apparent support for the draft majority opinion, but his support — or lack thereof — could either shore up or undercut an eventual majority view. The case that provided the backdrop for the leaked majority opinion deals with a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, which is earlier than state authorities have ordinarily been allowed to restrict the procedure.
Protect Roe v. Wade. Codify Roe v. Wade. Ensure reproductive freedom in all 50 states.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 7, 2022
During a first stop at Kavanaugh’s house, “Organizers asked the crowd to continue moving to avoid arrests and allow the flow of traffic in the residential area,” according to that CBS affiliate. Montgomery County police officers were at Kavanaugh’s residence. Later, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers were apparently at Roberts’s nearby home. There’s reportedly been some opposition from locals, even among those committed to the cause, over showing up outside Kavanaugh’s house, although Lacie Wooten-Holway — a woman leading protest efforts outside the Trump-appointed Justice’s residence — is remaining resolute. “I organize peaceful candlelit vigils in front of his house… We’re about to get doomsday, so I’m not going to be civil to that man at all,” Wooten-Holway recently said in response to an evidently pro-abortion rights individual opposed to the protests. Demonstrators will be back in the area on Wednesday as outrage mounts over the leaked draft opinion, the authenticity of which was confirmed.
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) May 8, 2022
If the court overturns its prior decision establishing nationwide rights to access abortion, then handling access to abortion will be left up to state officials, including the many avowedly anti-abortion Republicans currently in power. As previously reported here, recent polling indicates that most Americans support abortion access — in a Yahoo News/YouGov survey, 31 percent of respondents supported overturning the Supreme Court’s Roe ruling, and only 34 percent backed the idea of making abortion illegal in “all” or “most” cases — and the trend continues from there. Merely 33 percent of respondents backed the notion of their own states banning all or most abortions. A full 71 percent of respondents in the poll said abortions should generally be allowed “when the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest,” although a 15-week abortion ban already in effect in Florida contains no exceptions for cases involving those circumstances. The Florida ban seemingly rests on the assumption that the Supreme Court will uphold the challenged restrictions in Mississippi.
When the Senate votes to codify Roe next week, I will vote yes.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) May 6, 2022