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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin slammed Richmond lawmakers Tuesday after they tabled an amendment to the state budget that would enact punishments against protesters at Supreme Court justices homes in the Commonwealth, in a measure he said was identical to the federal statute.
Youngkin was unable to see the budget amendment passed after reportedly bipartisan opposition concluded with a Republican lawmaker successfully removing it from the one-day-session’s agenda.
Del. Bobby Orrock, R-Spotsylvania, made the motion to pass by the amendment, according to WAVY – which would have made such protesting or interference a class six felony.
House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot the amendment was a “unique procedural move” requiring further vetting.
A Republican-supported call to suspend the state’s 26 cpg gas tax also failed, with Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, telling the Virginian-Pilot taxes “have virtually nothing to do with the price of gasoline.”
Youngkin told Fox News later Tuesday he lamented both decisions, expressing that if the Biden Justice Department will not enforce the federal picketing law on the books – 18 USC 1507 – he wants to make sure Virginia can enact similar penalties for justices’ safety.
“I am really frustrated the amendment that I sent down to mimic, to copy, the federal statute US Attorney General Garland will not enforce, to keep our justices safe,” he said. “People should not be allowed to picket or protest in front of our US Supreme Court justices and try to influence them.”
“And that’s exactly what that law says – it’s punishable with up to a year in prison. I want that law in Virginia. I couldn’t get it most recently, but I’m going to keep trying, and we’re going to get that,” Youngkin pledged.
Youngkin praised his neighboring Republican governor, Maryland’s Lawrence Hogan, for working together to protect justices.
Authorities in Hogan’s state arrested a man accused of trying to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his Chevy Chase home, while Youngkin condemned confrontational protests near Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Falls Church residence and that of Justice Sam Alito near Mount Vernon.
Youngkin said he and Hogan both continue to urge Garland to enforce the law already on the books.
“But we’ve got ample resources parked right outside our justice’s homes to make sure that they’re safe. I speak to them frequently. I’m 100% focused on keeping them safe,’ he said.
In addition, host Sean Hannity discussed two key primary races occurring Tuesday in Youngkin’s state – where Republican Yesli Vega won the nomination to face off with Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., in a Prince William-centric swing district – and a handful of Republicans vying to oppose House January 6 Committee Member Elaine Luria of Hampton Roads.