The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Privacy for thee, not for me

A chalked hanger symbolizing abortion is viewed on the ground outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh as abortion rights activists protest on May 7 in Chevy Chase. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

According to the May 9 Metro article “A protest for choice at home,” people are protesting in front of the Chevy Chase home of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. The report said, “Neighbors tell [the protester] this kind of protest is disrespectful in a place they believe should be a private family-friendly escape from bitter Washington politics.”

Everyone would do well to remember that Justice Kavanaugh and his colleagues have reportedly “found” that the Constitution does not guarantee anyone privacy. And, with no right to privacy, Justice Kavanaugh and his colleagues plan to eviscerate a settled right that people in this country have had for 50 years. And, in so doing, Justice Kavanaugh and his colleagues will take away the safe place in which millions of people make the most difficult decision on an intimate, private subject many will ever face. That means that no one, not even victims of rape or incest and not even women whose lives are at risk, will be able to have a safe abortion.

In the face of Justice Kavanaugh’s eagerness to ignore precedent and his agreement with laws put forth by an Englishman (Matthew Hale, 1609-1676) who tried and supported the killing of “witches,” any concern for his privacy at his home is interesting. If the results of Justice Kavanaugh’s decision were not so dangerous and so far-reaching, any expectation of privacy for Justice Kavanaugh in his home would be Mel Brooks-level hilarity.

Margaret Henoch, Bethesda

The Supreme Court justices are not leaving women alone in their homes — and potentially are ruining countless lives — so why should we leave them alone at home?

What's good (extremely bad) for the goose is good (mildly uncomfortable) for the gander.

Carol Love, Raleigh, N.C.

According to the May 10 editorial “Leave the justices alone at home,” the abortion rights protests at the homes of the Supreme Court justices threaten “a decision-making process that must be controlled, evidence-based and rational if there is to be any hope of an independent judiciary.”

When, in its more than 200-year history, has the United States judiciary ever been “independent”? How can it be, when political appointment determines its membership and the laws and Constitution it interprets are themselves products of political machinations?

Given this obvious though oft-denied reality, it should come as no surprise that the Supreme Court’s “evidence-based” and “rational decision-making process” has resulted in decisions such as Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Korematsu v. United States (1944).

Political considerations shaped these decisions, and the “direct public pressure” that the editorial decried has rectified some of their cataclysmic effects. The protesters outside the homes of the Supreme Court justices are applying that pressure.

To claim, as the editorial did, that they should not do so because the Supreme Court is supposed to be apolitical is itself the most cheap and transparent of political ploys.

Will Hodgkinson, Arlington, Mass.

In theory, I can understand the position in the May 10 editorial “Leave the justices alone at home” that Supreme Court justices should not be picketed at their homes. But how rich is it that the protesters are admonished to give these justices their private lives when these same justices see no problem in invading the private lives of all women? Their shocking dishonesty in lying to our elected officials in their confirmation hearings leaves one to wonder why they deserve any respect at all. Instead, the increasingly powerless voter who resorts to these vigils is targeted as the problem.

The temporary discomfort of the justices is nothing compared with the agony they knowingly or unknowingly inflict on others.

Deborah Pollack, Rockville

There has been no violence or vandalism outside the homes of the Supreme Court justices. These unelected and unaccountable justices are about to put women’s lives on the line. I dare say they might have to put up with some noise outside their homes.

When I volunteered at Planned Parenthood, I always had to walk past vituperative demonstrators to get in the building. It was hyperbolic of the May 10 editorial to lump peaceful demonstrations in with violence.

Our voices will be heard now and for as long as our fragile democracy holds.

Donna Damico, Takoma Park