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Unfazed by Protests at Confirmation Hearings; Bothered by Those Near SCOTUS?

Twice during Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, protesters interrupted the proceedings. In fact, protesters have twice interrupted Supreme Court hearings in the last year.

That’s is not how to effect change at the high court.

On the issue of protests, though, it is ironic that individuals are not allowed to demonstrate on the spacious plaza in front of the court. Instead demonstrators are relegated to the adjacent sidewalk.

This position is held by Justice Sotomayor and her colleagues despite their near-unanimous decisions in other freedom of assembly cases that disallowed no-protest buffer zones.

The Justice Department’s defense, by the way, for the protest prohibition at SCOTUS? “The sidewalk [in front of the building, where demonstrations are allowed] is very wide,” an official explained last year.

Fix the Court believes that the justices, in the interest of being consistent with the First Amendment, should not prevent the public from congregating on the spacious plaza in front of the building – and they can allow such demonstrations without compromising their safety.

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