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Supreme Court Treats Protesters More Harshly Than Nearby Congress

When it comes to nonviolent protesters during official proceedings in Washington, D.C., the Supreme Court, which has its own police department, is viewed as being tougher than the nearby Capitol Police, NBC News reports. It's a sore point for Mark Goldstone, a lawyer who represents Washington protesters. Supreme Court protesters are treated “more harshly” in a couple of different ways, he said, referring only to those participating in nonviolent protests and not violent attacks like the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. On Capitol grounds, the police “process you and release you,” Goldstone said, while at the Supreme Court, “you are going to spend the night in jail" and likely face prosecution.

The court is often in the crosshairs of political controversies, never more so than now as the current 6-3 conservative majority has repeatedly shown its willingness to move the law dramatically to the right. There were widespread protests when the court ruled in June to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that had made abortion a constitutional right. For many months after a draft of the abortion ruling was leaked in May, the court building itself was fenced off because of security concerns, and some justices faced protesters outside their homes. It isn't unusual for protests to converge on the plaza and sidewalk in front of the grand courthouse building. Participants have long complained that the right to protest outside the court is limited, pointing out the irony of the Supreme Court imposing imits on the right to free speech. In recent years there has been an uptick in disruptions inside the courtroom, a development that the court has also sought to check.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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