Supreme Court Takes Itself Hostage

As abortion ruling nears, U.S. Supreme Court erects barricades to the public

By Lawrence Hurley – June 17, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Encircled by an ominous security fence and off-limits to the public since March 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised in the coming weeks to issue a major ruling that could dramatically curtail abortion rights from behind closed doors with not a single justice in sight.

FILE PHOTO: Abortion rights and anti-abortion protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

© Reuters/EVELYN HOCKSTEINFILE PHOTO: Abortion rights and anti-abortion protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

No members of the public have been allowed in the courthouse since COVID-19 pandemic precautions were implemented in March 2020. The scene at the court has become more tense following protests and threats against some of the nine justices prompted by the May leak of a draft opinion indicating they are set to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.

FILE PHOTO: Protest near the Supreme Court over abortion rights in Washington

© Reuters/EVELYN HOCKSTEINFILE PHOTO: Protest near the Supreme Court over abortion rights in Washington

The 8-foot (2.4 meters) tall fencing was erected in the days after the leak as the court ramped up security measures.

While the rest of official Washington, including other government buildings including the White House and Capitol, has reopened its doors to the public at least partially as the pandemic ebbs, the top U.S. judicial body remains in a form of lockdown with what appears to be siege mentality even as it wields huge influence over public policy.

For Guido Reichstadter, an abortion-rights protester camped out in front of the courthouse since the beginning of June, the fencing is a sign of how out of touch the justices – or at least the six conservative ones – are with public sentiment.

“They are trying to insulate themselves from the effects of their actions. Why else would you put a fence up?” Reichstadter asked.

Reichstadter was arrested on June 6 for locking himself to the fence by the neck and spent a night in jail.

“To me it sends a message that they are weak, they are afraid, they are isolated,” Reichstadter said of the fence.

Up next? Federal fences around uteruses . . . Court-ordered chains and locks on clinic doors . . . Repro health workers in jail . . . .

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