Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) probably thought that his call for pro-choice protesters demonstrating outside the homes of Supreme Court justices to be arrested and prosecuted by the Justice Department would be popular among his fellow Republicans, but he quickly found out that some of his colleagues are not in favor of such a move, according to NBC News.
“I think if they’re being peaceful and are staying off their property and are not disrupting neighborhoods or causing or inciting fear, it’s probably a legitimate expression of free speech,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., a former member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday.
“First Amendment rights are so, so special. … We should all be erring in favor of the First Amendment, in favor of freedom of speech, in favor of freedom of religion, in favor of the freedom of assembly,” she said. “Because if we start fearing our rights to speak and express our religious convictions, and if we fear assembly, the consequences of parsing those rights are extremely dangerous.”
Even a fellow GOP senator said Cotton’s suggestion wasn’t something he could endorse.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) noted:
“I’m a First Amendment guy, and I think that cuts both ways. If they’re there and they’re doing it peacefully, you know, I’m for that ability on either side of the political spectrum.”
Protests have so far been held outside the homes of Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh. Other demonstrators have done so at the house of Chief Justice John Roberts.
This is the same Tom Cotton who said in 2020 that he believed it would be appropriate to use military force on people protesting the murder of George Floyd by police officers with the Minneapolis Police Department.
In an interview he gave Wednesday, Cotton added that he feels the attempt of the demonstrations at the homes of justices is an effort to intimidate them:
“There is a federal law that prohibits the protesting of judges’ homes. Anybody protesting a judge’s home should be arrested on the spot by federal law enforcement. If [protesters] want to raise a First Amendment defense, they are free to do so.
“I don’t advocate for arresting people protesting on public streets in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. I do believe they should be arrested for protesting in the homes of judges, jurors and prosecutors. Federal law prohibits an obvious attempt to influence or intimidate judges, jurors and prosecutors.”
One wonders if Cotton would be this worried if the judges in question were on the other side of the political spectrum.
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