According to training records discovered by the office of Senator Katie Britt, a Republican from Alabama, the United States Marshals Service, which was sent to secure the houses of Supreme Court justices the previous year, was reportedly instructed not to arrest demonstrators “unless absolutely necessary.”
This occurred in spite of the severe threats made against conservative justices after
In response to the demonstrations that followed the publication of the decision in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe v. Wade, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the United States Marshals Service to station agents at the residences of Supreme Court justices over the summer of 2016.
The protests that broke out following the leak are being contended by conservatives to be in violation of a federal statute that forbids holding demonstrations outside the residence of a judge with the intention of swaying the outcome of the trial.
Attorney General Merrick Garland had previously claimed that U.S. Marshalls protecting the Justices had full authority to arrest individuals under any federal statue.
According to the training materials, the attorneys working for the Department of Justice appear to have come to the conclusion that applying the act to nonviolent demonstrations directed at the justices might potentially violate the First Amendment.
On Tuesday, Britt revealed the training regimen to Garland during a congressional hearing.
When confronted with the evidence, the attorney general claimed that he had never seen the slides before and was ignorant of any instructions given to officers protecting the Justices.
The Department of Justice refused to comment on the issue when asked for comment.