CNN anchor Laura Jarrett suggested Monday that encouraging civility in protesting the Supreme Court justices “misses the mark.”
“Where’s the line?” asked CNN host John Avlon as he discussed news that vandals had set fire to a pro-life clinic in Wisconsin, scrawling on the clinic wall, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
“Violence is always over the line,” he said. “But the real question, the conversation today [is] about protests outside Supreme Court justices houses, particularly Justice Kavanaugh. Where do you think that line is?”
“I think for a lot of people, a conversation about civility feels like it misses the mark when constitutional rights that you believe that you had for over 50 years are about to be overturned,” said Jarrett, the daughter of one of former President Barack Obama’s top advisors, Valerie Jarrett.
“The Justices have security,” she said. “So far all of the protests have seemed overwhelmingly nonviolent. There are plenty of protests that happen every single day in this country, around the country, at abortion clinics, blocking women from getting into clinics, and we don’t cover those as if they are four alarm fires.”
Jarrett went on to empathize with the angry protestors who demonstrated outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home on Saturday night.
“And so yes, they are gonna be protest[ing] in front of Kavanaugh’s house, because people are angry, and as long as they stay non-violent, I think for most of the people who are watching it, you can understand, where they are coming from.”
Avlon asked commentator Errol Louis whether the same principles should be at play if Republicans were protesting at a Supreme Court justice’s house.
“It is the same principle, although people would react differently,” responded Louis. “It’s important to keep in mind that the credibility of the court is also where some of this points to, I mean, when you look at some of the polling, the support for the court has fallen to really all time lows.”
“Protests happen because protests work,” he added, saying “they are human beings,” referring to the justices.
“They notice when people are screaming outside their house, outside their workplace, the court itself. They try to sort of follow the media, they might be watching right now. … There is a reason they let people in while they are doing their arguments. So the protests, I think, are probably a good idea. I believe very deeply in civility and the ability to have a civil discourse, and so it is important that there be guard rails on this. It’s one thing to protest from a distance, how close you get…the details really do matter.”
“But not targeting personal lives or particularly families,” Avlon said. “I think that is an important line. I understand that this is personal for people. People are frustrated. But I think in the public debate, in the public square, there is a line between the public or the private, particularly that relates to families, and I did want to highlight that.”
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