Gorsuch Takes Aim at Jamaal Bowman in J6 Hearing, Sparks Firestorm of Controversy

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Oral arguments began on Tuesday in the case Fischer vs. United States. The argument examined the validity of felony charges for obstructing a proceeding official against individuals who were involved in the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6. The ruling of the court will be significant, as it may influence the fates of hundreds of defendants involved in the riot of January 6, and could undermine certain federal accusations against Donald Trump.

The conservative wing has expressed doubts about the case of the U.S. government. Elizabeth Prelogar, the Solicitor-General, is making this claim. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked a question, which was epic, to say the least.

He asked if Rep. Jamaal BOWMAN (D-NY), who famously pulled the fire alarm to delay a House voting, could be charged under the same statute.

What does this mean in terms of the scope of this law? Gorsuch asked. Would a sit-in disrupting a trial, or preventing access to the federal courthouse, qualify? Could a heckler in today’s audience or at the State of the Union speech qualify? “Would pulling the fire alarm before a vote be considered a crime that would result in 20 years in federal prison?”

Prelogar insisted that these hypotheticals may not satisfy multiple elements of the statute. It relates to what I was going say to the chief judge about the scope of the law. These limitations would suggest, I believe, that the government could not charge many of these things under 1512(c).

She continued, “It includes the fact that the obstruction does require, which we interpret as meaningful interference. This means that if there is a minor interruption or delay, or a minimal outburst —

Gorsuch interjected: “My outburst, for example, requires that the court reconvene once the proceeding is brought into line. Or the fire alarm has to be pulled, the vote rescheduled or the protest outside the courthouse renders it inaccessible to the public for a time.” “Are all of those federal felonies punishable by 20 years in jail?”

You can easily see the direction this is heading. It is not surprising that Biden’s administration held that the act of pulling a fire alarm to delay a House voting would not be prosecuted because they chose not to charge Bowman.

I like the way Gorsuch used Bowman to illustrate his point, but the conservative wing continued to dominate Prelogar. Justice Samuel Alito continued where Gorsuch had left off. Prelogar claimed that it would be difficult to prove obstruction in an official proceeding. Alito responded by pointing out that 1512(c)(2) does not refer to just obstruct but also impedes, influences, or hinders. Impedes is less than obstructs.”

The Biden administration does not accept any example, whether it is the pro-Palestinian demonstrators who blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge Monday or hypothetical protesters who blocked traffic from Virginia to Washington, D.C.

Curious, isn’t it?

What was it like for Prelogar as Gorsuch and Alito ruined her case in front of her?