US Marshals Were Instructed to Refrain From Arresting Protesters at Homes of Supreme Court Justices


Protesting in front of the private residence of a federal judge with the intent to influence their decision is a federal crime. But guidelines given to U.S. marshals assigned to guard the homes of Supreme Court Justices specifically said not to arrest protesters. Attorney General Merrick Garland previously told Congress that the marshals had a free hand when it came to making arrests.

This discrepancy was brought up by freshman Senator Katie Britt (R.Ala.) at a budget hearing. Britt pointed out that federal marshal training materials didn’t allow them to arrest anyone.

Because the “no protest law” might lead to legal challenges, marshals were not allowed to make arrests.

Britt interviewed Garland about the training materials that were given to marshals to guard the homes and justices’ houses.

Britt stated, “After you appeared before the Judiciary Committee we obtained copies of the slide deck that was used for training and preparation of the Marshals for the protection details at the home of the justices.” “Those training materials demonstrate that the Marshals probably didn’t make any arrests for Section 1507 because they were actively discouraged.” “The slide shows that the Marshals were instructed to not take any criminal enforcement action against protestors unless absolutely necessary.”

Britt said, “The slides continued to say, they explicitly stated, that making arrests or initiating prosecutions wasn’t the goal of Marshals’ presence at homes of Justices.” The ‘not’ was in fact italicized, and underlined.

Garland claimed he didn’t know of any guidelines which directly contradicted his claim that marshals are free to make arrests, but that he stood behind his statement.

Garland stated that he was the first attorney general to order Marshals to guard the Justices’ residences and protect them 24 hours a day. “They have the primary responsibility of protecting Justices’ residences, but they don’t have to be prevented from making other types of arrests.”

It is important to note that the Dobbs case abortion leak occurred in May. Garland, on the other hand, twiddled his thumbs for almost three weeks before reluctantly granting security 24/7.


Republican legislators recently raised concerns that marshals had not taken sufficient action to stop noisy protests from outside the homes and offices of conservative justices. Garland was asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month why marshals hadn’t attempted to arrest protestors under a federal statute that prohibits them from trying to influence federal court decisions.

“We are trying to protect the lives and justices,” Garland stated, “This is the main priority”. “Decisions must be made on the ground about the best way to safeguard those lives.”

It’s unlikely that any arrests will be made as long as protestors continue to shout at conservative justices.