Sen. Mike Lee says abortion-rights protesters showed up at his house as a child

Sen. Mike Lee speaks to delegates at the GOP State Convention in Sandy on April 23. Lee, who has condemned protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over the anticipated undoing of Roe v. Wade, encountered similar protests outside his own house as a child.

Sen. Mike Lee speaks to delegates at the GOP State Convention in Sandy on April 23. Lee, who has condemned protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over the anticipated undoing of Roe v. Wade, encountered similar protests outside his own house as a child. (Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee, who has condemned protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over the anticipated undoing of Roe v. Wade, encountered similar protests outside his own house as a child.

Fox News reports that Lee describes the event in his forthcoming book, "Saving Nine: The Fight Against the Left's Audacious Plan to Pack the Supreme Court and Destroy American Liberty," to be released in June.

"One Saturday morning when I was 11, an entire busload of abortion-rights protesters showed up in front of our house and, without warning or explanation, began picketing on the sidewalk, chanting 'keep your laws off our bodies' over and over again," Lee, R-Utah, wrote in the book.

The protesters were at Lee's house in Virginia because his father, former U.S. solicitor general Rex E. Lee, wrote a brief at the Supreme Court with which they disagreed.

Rex Lee served as solicitor general during Ronald Reagan's first term as president, from 1981 to 1985. He argued 59 cases before the Supreme Court in roles as a private attorney, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Division and as solicitor general. Mike Lee turned 11 in 1982.

In the book, Lee said that he was the only person in his family to witness the demonstration because his parents were not home and his teenage sister was still asleep.

"I was fascinated by the commotion, and — after a brief moment imagining what might happen if I decided to turn the hose on them or deploy my secret stash of fireworks to disperse the crowd (I quickly decided that would be a big mistake) — I went outside to talk to the protesters," Lee wrote.

According to Lee, the demonstrators were not overly aggressive with him, nor were they violent. But, he wrote, his interaction with them underscores why he believes recent protests at the homes of several Supreme Court justices are wrong.

"The moment I matter-of-factly introduced myself to the woman who appeared to be in charge — let's call her Karen — she addressed me, in the most demeaning tone imaginable, saying, 'Hello, little boy. We're not here to hurt you, we just disagree with some of the things your daddy has been doing at the Supreme Court,'" Lee wrote.

"The 'we're not here to hurt you' stuck with me," he continued. "And yet, here they were at the residence of a public official, making sure he knew that they knew where he, his wife, and his children lived, ate, played, and slept every night."

Politico first reported last week that the Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman's right to an abortion, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court.

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Since then, pro-choice demonstrators have picketed outside the homes of several justices, including Alito and Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. The protests have been peaceful.

Lee has long advocated for overturning Roe v. Wade, calling the 1973 ruling morally and constitutionally wrong.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Lee said protesting outside justices' houses is an "implicit threat of violence."

"When you show up at someone's home, you're sending an unmistakable message: We know where you sleep," he said.

Lee said federal law prohibits such demonstrations.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the protests, telling reporters, "I know that there's an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly do continue to encourage that, outside judges' homes, and that's the president's position."

Lee called the White House response stunning.

"This is wrong, and I call on the president of the United States personally to undo this. He is encouraging unlawful behavior that is inherently dangerous and is inherently threatening," he said.

Lee told Fox News that while he's "grateful" that the protests outside his home that day "didn't escalate into something much worse," he's concerned the current demonstrations over abortion law could.

"By all accounts, those protesting outside the homes of Supreme Court justices today are far more angry than the people who showed up to intimidate my family that day," Lee said.

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Utah congressional delegationPoliticsUtahU.S.
Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.

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