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FL Gov. DeSantis signs law banning protests outside of private homes

Ron DeSantis Gov of Florida (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
May 17, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law on Monday banning people from picketing or protesting in front of someone’s private residence.

Under HB1517, police must first provide a warning to protestors demonstrating “outside of a dwelling.” The new law defines a “dwelling” as “a building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families.”

Law enforcement “will make arrests for residential picketing only if the person does not peaceably disperse after the warning.” Those arrested after a warning face second-degree misdemeanor charges.

“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, is inappropriate,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

The bill’s text states that “the state has a significant interest in protecting the tranquility and privacy of the home and protecting citizens from the detrimental effect of targeted picketing.”

The law will take effect on October 1.

The move comes after pro-abortion demonstrators protested outside Supreme Court justices’ private homes in response to a leaked draft opinion revealing plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Earlier this month, then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to condemn the demonstrators gathered outside of the justices’ residences.

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy noted at the time that pro-abortion activists had doxed the justices, posting a map of their home addresses online.

“The president’s view is that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document,” Psaki responded. “We obviously want people’s privacy to be respected. We want people to protest peacefully if they want to protest. That is certainly what the president’s view would be.”

American Military News previously reported that protests outside of Supreme Court Justices’ homes could violate federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 1507 prohibits “pickets or parades” in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied by a judge, juror, witness, or court officer “with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing” any of those individuals. Violators of the law can be fined and face up to a year of imprisonment.