Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has proposed an amendment to the state budget that would make it a felony to protest outside the home of a sitting judge or justice with the intent to intimidate or influence said judge in a court case.
Under the proposed amendment, any individual that demonstrates outside “a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, court officer, or court employee, or any immediate family member of such judge, juror, witness, court officer, or court employee” with the intent of “interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing or intimidating in the discharge of his or her duty any judge, juror, witness, court officer, or court employee” in the state would be charged with a Class 6 felony.
As stated in the Virginia Code, individuals hit with a Class 6 felony could face “not less than one year nor more than five years” in prison, “or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.”
“I am asking that the General Assembly help keep our state and federal judges safe,” Youngkin said in a statement.
The motion by Youngkin to increase penalties against individuals harassing judicial figures comes amid continued demonstrations outside the homes of several U.S. Supreme Court justices. After a majority draft opinion striking down Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico last month, pro-abortionists have repeatedly picketed the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett, with the latter two residing in Virginia.
Under existing Virginia law, individuals caught picketing outside of a residence face the prospect of being charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and a fine “of not more than $500.” When asked last month if Virginia Attorney General Miyares intended to pursue charges against violators under that statute, a representative for the attorney general told The Federalist that “[u]nder Virginia law, local Commonwealth’s Attorneys are responsible for prosecuting violations of [the] statute.”
Despite also violating federal law, individuals engaged in such actions at the homes of SCOTUS justices have yet to be charged by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has sat on his hands as left-wing agitators attempt to scare the justices into upholding federalized abortion.
In addition to protests, acts of physical violence have also been attempted against one of the court’s conservative justices. Last week, law enforcement arrested Nicholas John Roske near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh for attempting to assassinate the justice primarily over his purported support in striking down Roe. After calling 911 and telling the operator his plan to kill the justice, Roske was taken into custody by Montgomery County police, who found him armed with a gun, knife, and pepper spray.
Roske was indicted by a federal jury on Tuesday on a charge of attempted assassination.
Shawn Fleetwood is an intern at The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood