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Britt: Marshals discouraged from arresting protesters outside justices’ homes

U.S. Sen. Katie Britt said U.S. Marshals were instructed against making arrests during protests last year in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices.

Britt (R-Montgomery) made the statement Tuesday while questioning Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Department of Justice’s role in protecting the homes of US Supreme Court justices. The issue was related to protests about the leak of the draft decision and final decision of Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

While questioning the Attorney General, Britt referenced a slide deck she obtained. Britt said it had been used to prepare U.S. Marshals for their assignments in guarding the justices’ homes.

The deck, given to Britt by a whistleblower from within the department, weakened the Marshals’ ability to arrest protestors, by explicitly telling them not to make arrests and not to initiate prosecutions. This information directly contradicted previous testimony given by Garland claiming the Marshals had full authority to make arrests.

“After your appearance before the Judiciary Committee, we obtained copies of the slide deck that was used to train and prepare the Marshals for their protective details at the home of the justices,” Britt said. “Those training materials show that the Marshals likely didn’t make any arrests under Section 1507 for a pretty simple reason – they were actively discouraged from doing so. As you can see on the slide behind me, the Marshals were explicitly told to avoid, unless absolutely necessary, any criminal enforcement actions involving the protestors.

“The slides went on to say, they explicitly state, that making arrests and initiating prosecutions was not the goal of the Marshals’ presence at the homes of the Justices. And the ‘not’ was actually italicized and underlined.”

Garland, in response, said this was the first time he had seen the slides. He also told Britt he had taken unprecedented steps to ensure the safety of the Supreme Court justices during the protests.

“I’m the first attorney general who has ever ordered Marshals to protect the residences of the Justices and protect them 24/7,” Garland said. “That’s their principal responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that they are in any way precluded from bringing other kinds of arrests.”

According to 18 U.S.C. §1507, it is illegal to picket or parade near a residence occupied by a judge with the intent of “interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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