JUST IN: DHS Issues July 4th Warning

The head of the Department of Homeland Security announced Sunday that there is a “heightened threat environment,” which has lead to the need to issue a warning of what could be coming on Independence Day.

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This alert comes in the aftermath of recent Supreme Court decisions that were handed down, in which a portion of the country violently disagrees with and plans to use the nation’s birthday to let their rage be known.

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“We have seen a heightened threat environment … over the last several months over a number of different volatile issues that galvanize people on different sides of each issue,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS News on Sunday. “We in the Department of Homeland Security become involved when there’s a connectivity between the- the opposition to a particular view or an ideology of hate, a false narrative, and violence.”

Mayorkas added that his department is very conscious of the fact that the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade has really heightened the threat environment. They have made sure that all the resources have been deployed to ensure the safety and security of the Supreme Court and the justices, according to his statement.

“We do not condone violence and law enforcement will and has responded to acts of violence when people do not honor their freedom to protest peacefully, but instead violate the laws of our country and the states within it.”

A man, 26 years old, was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in Maryland, last month. He allegedly told law enforcement that he planned to kill the justice because he believed he would side with a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. In late June, the decision by the United States Supreme Court did just that, striking down the 1973 decision which claimed that women have a constitutional right to have an abortion.

There have been protests outside the homes of many justices in Maryland and Virginia over the last few weeks following the leak of the original draft to the media on the issue of the Roe decision. It is illegal under federal law to pressure a judge into issuing a particular ruling or to interfere with their work in any way.

In response to the protests and threats against the justices, the Supreme Court’s marshal sent a request to the governors of Virginia and Maryland asking them to provide more law enforcement resources in order to deal with the threats against the justices.

“You recently stated that you were ‘deeply concerned’ that ‘hundreds of demonstrators have recently chosen to picket Supreme Court Justices at their homes in … Maryland,’” Gail Curley, the marshal to the court, wrote in a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “Since then, protest activity at the Justices’ homes, as well as threatening activity, has only increased.”

In response, Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, wrote that Garland needed to enforce existing protest laws and prevent it from occurring. Likewise, a spokesperson for the Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, called on Garland to take immediate action.

“A month later, hours after an assassination attempt on Justice Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice finally responded, declining to enforce the laws,” Ricci wrote.

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“In light of the continued refusal by multiple federal entities to act, the governor has directed Maryland State Police to further review enforcement options that respect the First Amendment and the Constitution,” he added.

The Washington Post reported:

Some officials argued that federal law enforcement should respond to the court’s concerns, while others cast the directive as unconstitutional. Police officials said they worked to keep justices safe while respecting the First Amendment rights of demonstrators. And protesters responded directly Saturday with an impromptu demonstration outside Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase.

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Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley, in four separate letters addressed to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D), Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay (D), said protests and “threatening” activity had increased since May at the justices’ homes.

“For weeks on end, large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes in Maryland,” her letter to Hogan said. “Earlier this week, for example, 75 protesters loudly picketed at one Justice’s home in Maryland for 20-30 minutes in the evening, then proceeded to picket at another Justice’s home for 30 minutes, where the crowd grew to 100, and finally returned to the first Justice’s home to picket for another 20 minutes. This is exactly the kind of conduct that the Maryland and Montgomery County laws prohibit.”

The marshal cited Maryland law, which states that a “person may not intentionally assemble with another in a manner that disrupts a person’s right to tranquility in the person’s home” and that law “provides for imprisonment for up to 90 days or a $100 fine.”