Law enforcement in Montgomery County, Maryland, warned the public on Wednesday night that police will enforce laws against disturbing the peace at protests outside the homes of US Supreme Court justices.
The county police posted on Twitter, "MCPD supports the first amendment right to protest, however, anyone violating the disorderly conduct statute may be subject to arrest. Applicable laws regarding protests in Montgomery County have been added to the MCPD website."
The department added on its website, "The Montgomery County Department of Police is committed to preserving the First Amendment rights of all individuals. There are content-neutral Montgomery County Code and Maryland Law provisions that restrict protesting and assembling in a private neighborhood, as well as disturbing the peace."
According to Maryland's common laws regarding protests and disruptive assemblies:
· A person may not willfully and without lawful purpose obstruct or hinder the free passage of another in a public place.
· A person may not willfully act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace.
· A person may not willfully fail to obey a reasonable and lawful order that a law enforcement officer makes to prevent a disturbance to the public peace.
· A person who enters the land or premises of another, whether an owner or lessee, or a beach adjacent to residential riparian property, may not willfully ... disturb the peace of persons on the land, premises by making an unreasonably loud noise, or act in a disorderly manner.
· A person from any location may not, by making an unreasonably loud noise, willfully disturb the peace of another ... on the other's land or premises, in a public place.
Activists outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh posted in response to the warning, "We're here at Kavanaugh's to fight for our basic right to bodily autonomy. Tonight, Montgomery County Police are telling us we cannot chant, drum, or make any loud noise as we exercise our First Amendment Rights."
One activist posted a video of an officer informing the group of protesters of the relevant laws.
Axios reported that approximately 20 officers from Montgomery County and the U.S. Marshals Service were at Kavanaugh's home to monitor the situation.
In May, after a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media, pro-abortion activists began protesting at the homes of the court’s conservative-leaning justices.
In June, law enforcement arrested a man outside Kavanaugh's Maryland home, who was allegedly planning to assassinate the justice.
The protests have continued even after the court released the official majority decision overturning Roe at the end of last month. Last Wednesday, Kavanaugh had to make a hasty exit from the back of Morton's Steakhouse after activists descended on the restaurant to protest.
Republicans have criticized Democratic leadership for encouraging ongoing protests, especially those at homes and in public spaces.
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