Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs legislation banning protests in front of homes

'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,' DeSantis said in a statement.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs legislation banning protests in front of homes
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation on Monday that makes it illegal to protest outside someone's home in the state.

The legislation, Florida House Bill 1571, is a direct response to the widespread protests at the homes of Supreme Court Justices over the potential repeal of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

The Florida law, which goes into effect on October 1, bans protesting outside a person's home. Under the law, law enforcement officers must first issue a warning to protesters to disperse. If they refuse to do so, officers are permitted to arrest them. All violations of the law will be prosecuted and punished as second degree misdemeanors.

“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,” DeSantis said in a statement on early Tuesday. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

According to the preamble of the law, the state legislature says 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 text reads as follows:

It is unlawful for a person to picket or protest before or about the dwelling of any person with the intent to harass or disturb that person in his or her dwelling.

It adds:

Before a person may be arrested for a violation of this section, a law enforcement officer… or a local, state, federal, or military law enforcement agency must go as near to the person as may be done with safety and shall command any person picketing or protesting before or about the dwelling of a person to immediately and peaceably disperse. If any such person does not thereupon immediately and peaceably disperse, he or she may be arrested for a violation of this section.

The protest against the Supreme Court Justices began on May 7, when protesters marched toward the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Samuel Alito. One of the groups organizing the protests calls itself “Ruth Sent Us,” in reference to the late Justice, published a Google Map showing the homes of each of the six conservative Justices in the court.

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