Washington — Three people were arrested Wednesday and charged with violating two federal laws involving Supreme Court proceedings and the administration of justice after they disrupted oral arguments before the high court to protest itsthat eliminated the constitutional right to an .
Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said the three are being processed at the Supreme Court and will be transported to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Central Cell Block. They are charged with violating a federal law that makes it illegal to “make a harangue or oration” in the Supreme Court building, and a second that forbids demonstrating with the intent of interfering with administration of justice.
A press release identified the demonstrators as Emily Paterson and Nikki Enfield of Virginia, and Ronalde Baker of Arizona.
The disruptions occurred at the start of arguments in a case involving the Bank Secrecy Act. One woman can be heard in audio of the proceeding saying, “The right to choose will not be taken away.”
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade sparked outrage and protests nationwide from abortion-rights supporters, but Wednesday’s demonstration was the first to occur inside the courtroom. The building has been closed to the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, though people can attend the oral argument sessions.
While protests frequently occur outside the Supreme Court, interruptions during arguments are rare. The last occurred in 2015, when a group of activiststo voice their opposition to the Citizens United campaign finance decision. The demonstration, which resulted in the arrests of seven people, took place on the fifth anniversary of the ruling.