Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
On Tuesday, in a clear effort to grab attention, 17 members of Congress blocked traffic near the Supreme Court for long enough to earn themselves an arrest.
According to a release by the Capitol Police, a group of 35 demonstrators, all on site to protest the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, began blocking traffic just after 1 p.m. local time and refused to allow cars to pass even after being warned multiple times that they were violating the law.
“It is against the law to block traffic, so officers gave the demonstrators three standard warnings to get out of the street,” the release reads. “When the demonstrators refused to get out of the street, the officers arrested them for Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding (DC Code § 22–1307).”
Among the arrestees were a who’s who of progressive House Democrats. Reps Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York were arrested as was the No. 4 Democrat in the House, Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts.
Also arrested were Squad members Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Cori Bush of Missouri, as well as Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Jackie Speier of California, Carolyn Maloney of New York, Veronica Escobar of Texas, Sara Jacobs of California, Alma Adams of North Carolina, Bonnie Watson of New Jersey, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, and Andy Levin of Michigan.
While one might have expected Republicans to chuckle at the thought of some of the more outspoken members of the left facing charges for allegedly failing to peaceably assemble, most conservatives either made no comment or received the news as little more than a ploy for attention from select progressives.
In a video shared on Twitter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) intimated the entire event was a charade aimed at drumming up midterm votes.
“The Democrats are so busy destroying our country,” Greene said. “They’re failing so badly. Inflation is out of control, gas prices are so high, our border is being completely invaded every single day. Crime rates in cities … have gone up so much, hundreds and hundreds of percentage points, and the Democrats can’t convince their voters to get out and vote. So, they’re lying to them.”
Whether the goal was votes or some broader public relations effort, there can be no mistaking the fact that the Democratic representatives wanted to be arrested. It’s rare that an unsuspecting guest of law enforcement has a statement prepared for quick release or smiles victoriously toward well-placed media while being arrested, but these were the norm among the arrested legislators.
Ocasio-Cortez went so far as to feign being handcuffed for the still photographs she knew would be shared.
Any doubts that Ocasio-Cortez was faking being led off in cuffs are easily overcome when one views video of the incident that shows other arrestees, including one walking alongside AOC, not in handcuffs and, even more revealing, the congresswoman suddenly raising her fist in a salute to the crowd before replacing her hands behind her back.
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 19, 2022
Above her Twitter video, Greene wrote “AOC just faked being handcuffed to sell her lie,” later adding “It’s pathetic!”
Omar, too, feigned being handcuffed, but gave away the fake with her own fist pump. Also, as a matter of practice, police do not generally allow handcuffed individuals to walk several feet in front of them, which this video, which was shared by Omar, clearly shows.
Today I was arrested while participating in a civil disobedience action with my fellow Members of Congress outside the Supreme Court.
I will continue to do everything in my power to raise the alarm about the assault on our reproductive rights! ✊🏽pic.twitter.com/rpFYOGBDf4
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 19, 2022
If purposefully getting oneself arrested to score political points seems an extreme move, in this case it really wasn’t. If anything, the Democrats were in a no-lose situation.
The penalty for crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which is a misdemeanor, is a fine and up to 90 days in jail. Barring the strangest turn of events in modern jurisprudence, no Democratic congressperson will serve any time in jail and each can afford a fine should any be assessed.
However, now due to their public arrests, all of the Democratic protesters are able to play up their radical, subversive personas for their voter bases and can claim after the fact to have put real skin in the game in the fight for abortion rights.