The Tense Politics of a Texas Abortion Law
Both the left and right want to politicize the courts.
A new law passed in Los Angeles aims to tamp down on protests targeting private homes, casting a spotlight on a trend that appears to have grown across the country.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the law last week, banning protesters from organizing demonstrations within 300 feet from targeted private homes. It comes after protesters most recently showed up at the homes of Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell demanding the city stop forcing restaurants to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining.
Earlier this month, pro-life demonstrators showed up outside the Washington, D.C. –area home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to protest the new Texas abortion law. The move carried out by a crowd of about 50 was condemned by both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
The trend seemed to most notably take a national spotlight in Missouri in the summer of 2020.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, two married St. Louis lawyers in their 60s, drew firearms while standing outside their home and pointed them at a crowd of Black Lives Matter activists who had broken down an iron gate and ignored a “No Trespassing” sign on their private street. The crowd was headed for the private home of now-retired Mayor Lyda Krewson after she publicly read the names of people who supported defunding the police.
Now, the McCloskeys might have their law licenses revoked.
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Mark McCloskey said he and his wife were being penalized for exercising their rights to defend themselves.
“It’s just more of those rules for thee, but not for me,” he said. “The left is using the mob specifically to intimidate people, and they’re specifically moving into nice neighborhoods where people don’t expect to have riots and mobs attack them specifically to make people know that you can’t be safe anywhere. That we’ll come and get you at any place and at any time if you have the guts to stand up.”
Protesters outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 13 in Chevy Chase, Md.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Last week, Missouri chief disciplinary counsel Alan Pratzel asked the state Supreme Court to suspend the McCloskeys’ law licenses. The couple already had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor firearm charges in June before Republican Gov. Mike Parson pardoned them in July.
McCloskey told Fox News Digital he and his wife had 30 days to reply. With or without a law license, Mark McCloskey said he’s still moving forward with his race for U.S. Senate. The Republican primary in Missouri isn’t until August 2022.
“Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, but we anticipated there would be something like this because it was too politically significant and our bar association is too woke to let it go,” he said over the push to have his law license revoked.
“There are a lot of civil rights we have in this country which we didn’t have before which were illegal,” Mark McCloskey continued. “People forced the government to recognize those civil rights through civil disobedience, but this wasn’t even civil disobedience. This was just us trying to save our lives and our house, and if that’s immoral, we need more immorality in this country.”
Patricia and Mark McCloskey holding guns while facing the crowd in St. Louis, in June 2020.
(REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant, File)
At the time of the incident in June 2020, Donald Trump was president and anti-police demonstrations were sweeping many of the nation’s big cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis months before the presidential election last November. Since Trump left office, McCloskey told Fox News Digital that attacks against them from “Squad” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and Cori Bush, D-Mo., have been politically motivated and hypocritical. He noted how Bush has shelled out money for private security while simultaneously advocating to defund police on a broad scale.
The new measure against protests at private homes in Los Angeles, approved last Tuesday in a 12-to-2 vote, tightened restrictions already banning demonstrations within 100 feet from private dwellings. It allowed those aggrieved by unlawful picketing to seek up to $1,000 for each violation.
In first calling for the law in August, Martinez said protesters had shown up to her home in Sun Valley and used a bullhorn to shout obscenities through her daughter’s bedroom window. She also said crowds threatened her life and had vandalized a car parked at her home months ago, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Activists protesting vaccine mandates in Santa Monica last month held signs showing the addresses of Martinez’s and O’Farrell’s private homes, Los Angeles Daily News reported. At least one of the speakers instructed crowds to head to the council members’ homes should they support measures requiring proof of vaccination to enter bars and restaurants in the city.
In a letter opposing the 300-foot ordinance, the Democratic Socialists of America’s Los Angeles chapter, as well as other organizations, denounced what they described as “violent right-wing extremists” for showing up to the homes of journalists and shutting down vaccination sites.
But, the letter also decried the ordinance for targeting the political speech of Black Lives Matter and other groups “who have righteously utilized protests outside residential dwellings to bring attention to harmful policies and disengaged politicians.”
Protesters opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates holding a rally in front of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 18
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
And separately, Ricci Sergienko, an organizer with the activist group People’s City Council, accused Martinez of seeking the new law only after protests came to her own home – while she previously failed to address an incident in which Antifa members swarmed a group of anti-vaccine mandate protesters, triggering a stabbing outside Los Angeles City Hall last month.
Meanwhile, outside Kavanaugh’s home on Sept. 13 in Chevy Chase, Maryland, video showed one demonstrator with a microphone yell obscenities at police officers stationed by the driveway, shouting for them to “Go do your actual job.” The pro-choice crowd also carried large banners that read “Repro Freedom For All” and wrote in chalk in the street for Kavanaugh to resign. Kavanaugh had joined four other justices in voting to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers to stop the Texas law banning most abortions in the state. The Justice Department has since filed its own lawsuit in Texas, which a federal judge in Austin is scheduled to hear Oct. 1.
Speaking at the beginning of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, described the demonstration outside Kavanaugh’s home as “another blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary” and anyone who “disagrees with the radical agenda,” The Washington Post reported.
Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also condemned the protest, saying those unhappy about the Texas law should voice their frustrations at the ballot box or courthouse.
Durbin said it was “absolutely unacceptable to involve any major public figure’s family or their home” in the “name of freedom of speech” when there are other “proper venues to express yourself.” Leahy added that it was unacceptable for the protesters to “try to intimidate” Kavanaugh’s family.
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