The Washington Post

Hurting their cause

The abortion rights protest at Justice Kavanaugh’s home crossed the line.


MORE THAN 50 people marched Monday night to the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. They carried signs with messages such as “safe abortion is a human right” and “hey Kavanaugh resign now.” They chanted “my body, my choice” and “What do we want? Safe abortion access. When do we want it? Now.” No laws were broken, and the right to protest is sacred in this country. But that doesn’t make the events at Justice Kavanaugh’s suburban Maryland home any more acceptable.

The demonstrat­ion outside Justice Kavanaugh’s home is the latest in a dismaying trend in which the homes, families and private lives of politician­s and other public figures become targets. Protests that blur the boundaries between free expression and mob rule have taken aim at local and national officials of both parties. The San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) was defaced with demands for $2,000 stimulus payments. Protesters bellowing through bullhorns stood outside the Virginia home of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO.) to object to his challenge of President Biden’s electoral win. Right-wing protesters upset with covid restrictio­ns picketed the homes of members of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) cabinet. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has had protesters outside her home on issues ranging from homeless services to defunding the police.

Monday night’s demonstrat­ion was organized by the liberal group ShutDown DC to demand Justice Kavanaugh’s resignatio­n because of his recent vote not to block a Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. “Another blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-iowa). Notably, and to their credit, two Democratic senators who opposed Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmati­on, Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy ( Vt.), also denounced the protest. “Politics ain’t beanbag. We all know that you have to have a tough mental hide to be in this business,” Mr. Durbin said Tuesday at the start of a Judiciary Committee hearing. “But it’s absolutely unacceptab­le, from my point of view, to involve any major public figure’s family or their home or to involve yourself in criminal trespass in the name of political freedom of speech.” Those not happy with the court’s action, he and Mr. Leahy said, should express themselves at the ballot box or outside the courthouse.

We agree. Leave spouses, children and homes out of it. If that appeal for basic civility and decency isn’t persuasive, those who engage in these reprehensi­ble tactics should realize they are only hurting their cause when it is overshadow­ed by their tactics.

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