Senator Blackburn and Hagerty push for confidentiality for government officials following abortion protests | Brentwood homepage

Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, along with other Republican senators, introduced the Public Servants Protection Act this week.

The bill is a response to recent protests outside the homes of conservative US Supreme Court justices, which were themselves in response to the leak last week of a draft court opinion that is expected to see the end of federal protections for abortions.

According to a press release, the legislation aims to “protect all government employees and their families from the publication of their home addresses online,” an action sometimes referred to as “doxxing.”

The peaceful protests drew dozens of pro-choice activists in what could be seen as a clear example of the First Amendment in action, but others, including Washington Post opinion columnist Marc A. Thiessen, argued that the action was in fact illegal, citing U.S. Code Title 18 Section 1507 which reads in full:

“Anyone who, with intent to interfere, obstruct or interfere with the administration of justice, or with intent to influence a judge, juror, witness or officer of justice, in the exercise of office, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such a judge , juror, witness or officer of the court, or with such intent uses a sound truck or similar device or resorts to any other manifestation in or near such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.

“Nothing in this section shall interfere with or preclude the exercise by a court of the United States of its power to punish for contempt.”

Now, Senator Blackburn and others are working to further insulate judges and other public officials from public scrutiny and possible intimidation, just as security has been tightened around the nation’s highest court and its members.

“The awake mob is trying to threaten our judges to shut up,” Senator Blackburn said in the press release. “While the White House and Biden’s Justice Department have remained remarkably silent on condemning these targeted attacks, I have joined my colleagues in the Senate in protecting our officials as they defend the rule of law.”

While Senator Blackburn criticized what she sees as the Biden administration’s inaction on the protests, former White House press secretary Jen Paski said in a tweet: “@POTUS strongly believes the constitutional right to protest. But this should never include violence, threats or vandalism. Judges perform an extremely important function in our society, and they must be able to do their job without worrying about their personal safety.

Blackburn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a recent interview with Fox News that the Justice Department should “take action” against protesters and said law enforcement officials “should lead each of these people to the police, their headquarters, and then book them.

No arrests were reported during protests that marched outside the homes of the Tory judges, but police were present.

“Judges and other government officials should not be the subject of angry displays and violent threats at home simply because they serve the public at work,” Arkansa Sen. Tom Cotton added in a statement. the press release on current legislation. “Our bill will protect public servants and their families by allowing them to remove their personal addresses from any public website.”

Brentwood resident Blackburn was herself the target of a protest in 2020 when she and her husband dined at Mere Bulles restaurant in Brentwood.

Protest against abortion in Nashville on May 3, 2022

Spring Hill resident Robert Breslin participates in the Nashville pro-choice protest May 3, 2022 outside the new Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and Courthouse, less than 24 hours after a leaked opinion from the Supreme Court of United States. right to abortion protected.

Peaceful protests following the opinion leak have erupted across the country, including in Nashville. However, the Madison, Wisconsin office for Wisconsin Family Action, an anti-abortion group, was the target of a suspected firebombing, which damaged the building and included a spray-painted message that said, “If abortions aren’t safe then neither are you.

“It has no place,” Senator Blackburn said of the incident.

This recent example of intimidation is not unique to one side of the debate, with dozens of examples of arson, bombings, assaults and murders targeting abortion providers by activists anti-abortion across the country from the 1970s through the 1980s, 1990s and into the 2000s.

Just five months ago, on New Year’s Eve, a Knoxville Planned Parenthood facility was set on fire in an incident that law enforcement has ruled an arson.

In Mt. Juliet, a women’s health clinic that provided abortion services was the target of multiple protests in 2019 and resulted in the city of Mt. Juliet paying $225,000 in attorney fees to settle a lawsuit federal after the city rezoned the clinic after it opened in an effort to prevent abortions from happening.

The court’s final formal ruling is expected to be released next month and could lead to even more direct actions from pro-choice protesters as nationwide protests are expected to continue this weekend, including in Nashville. .

President Biden has previously spoken out against the decision in a Press release.

“The draft opinion challenges the fundamental right to privacy – the right to make personal choices about marriage, whether or not to have children and how to raise them,” President Biden later said in a statement. tweet. “These are basic rights for Americans – an essential part of who we are.”

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