Gowdy tells protesters: You're free to peacefully protest the law, but you're not free to disregard it

TREY GOWDY: It’s right there in the First Amendmentyou are welcome to protest, and you don’t have to be polite or fair, or even accurate. But you do have to be peaceful. Now, there are people showing up at the homes of Supreme Court justices. To what end? For what purpose? How does showing up at someone’s home advance your argument? How is it persuasive to intimidate family members and neighbors? Do you really think you will change minds or the way that judges look at cases and issues, by posing a threat? It is against the law to show up at a judge’s house trying to intimidate or influence a decision. You are welcome to disagree with judges. You can take issues with their rulings, if you think a judge is wrong, you can appeal, you can defeat that judge at the ballot box or through impeachment. But you are not welcome to show up at a judge’s house to intimidate or influence that judge. 

Something is going on in this country, and it is not good. Heckling people at restaurants, accosting them as they leave a rally or political event, storming the Capitol, trespassing on other people’s property, to what end? Your protest does not have to be fair or accurate, although it would be much more persuasive if it was. Your protest does not have to be polite…but protests do have to be peaceful. And when they are not, you give license to those on both sides of the spectrum to do the same. Protesters should be peaceful and law-abiding. Whether it is in pursuit of criminal justice reform, the counting of the electoral college, or decisions about what rights lie in the penumbra of other rights.

The law is about the only thing holding this country together right now. You are free to disagree with the law, argue against it, or seek to change it. You are not free to disregard it, because when you disregard the law, even in your pursuit of some perceived higher ideal, you weaken the law. And once it is weakened, it is weakened forever. And you’re most assuredly not welcome to show up at a judge’s house to complain about a decision, no matter how strongly you feel. 


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