Exactly one year after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the newest Justice on the Supreme Court, about three hundred of his opponents rallied in front of the Supreme Court.
This time the theme was Reclaim the Court.
Signs were less concerned with sexual harassment than last year (though that was still a theme) and more with Kavanaugh as a man “Unfit to Sit.”
The signs reflected several issues women are concerned about which the Court can influence.
While waiting for the rally to begin numerous people posed for photo ops on the city sidewalk with the Supreme Court in the background. One of the most vocal groups came from Maine to broadcast their opposition to the re-election of Sen. Susan Collins.
One of the last progressive Republicans in Congress, Collins has served since 1997. Because she has long supported women and women’s issues, she was expected to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Her failure to do so raised a lot of ire.
Once the rally started, women from many different organizations spoke for two and a half hours.
The most prominent speaker was Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. In September she had filed a House resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry into Kavanaugh.
Her audience was heavily white and rather young.
Many parents brought their children.
Some seventy participants spent three hours in a morning training session before walking to the Supreme Court.
A good deal of that training focused on the legal consequences of planned civil disobedience. Of the different possibilities, the crowd wanted most to mount the steps to the doors of the Supreme Court as they had done at the end of the 2018 demonstrations. When they reached the Court, they quickly saw that that was not going to happen.
The Court has its own police force, one of many in the District of Columbia. Its jurisdiction is the one city block on which the Supreme Court building rests, plus the people in it. The Court is closed on Sunday, even to tourists, but most of its 125 police officers were working that Sunday. Their primary task was to keep all protestors off of the Court plaza and steps. Toward that end they put up barricades and kept everyone else off as well.
The closest the protestors could come to occupying the court steps was to wrap yellow hazard tape around the barricades with #RECLAIMTHECOURT printed on it.
Instead of storming the steps when the rally ended, about a hundred protestors flowed into the street in front of the Court. While the DC police kept cars away, they sat and chanted. Some wrapped tape around everything.
To end they day, they marched to the nearby home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R KY), and wrapped his door with the hazard tape.
The rally was sponsored by Women’s March, Demand Justice and the Center for Popular Democracy. This was the first major action of the new Women’s March Board. Only one of the four founders sits on the new 17 member Board.
Copyright © 2019 by Jo Freeman