Man who disrupted Supreme Court arguments sentenced to jail for 3 weeks

By Jessica Gresko
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A protester who disrupted historic arguments over gay marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court was sentenced last Thursday to 21 days in jail.

Rives Miller Grogan, 50, of Mansfield, Texas, had previously pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the court. Lawyers were about 30 minutes into oral arguments April 28 when, during a break in speakers, Grogan yelled that the Bible says gay marriage supporters “could burn in hell for eternity” and that “homosexuality is an abomination to god.” He was removed from the courtroom and arrested.
The justices announced their decision in the case in June, ruling 5-4 that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.

Last Thursday, Grogan told Judge Randolph D. Moss during a hearing that his Christian faith compelled him to speak out in the courtroom as a “warning” to the justices.

But the judge told Grogan that the outburst, his second time disrupting the Supreme Court’s proceedings, was unfair to the court and the lawyers appearing before it. Moss told Grogan that if demonstrating inside the court became commonplace it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the court to get its work done.

Grogan said he agreed that he should have been escorted out but noted: “I slowed justice down, what, 10, 15 seconds?”

As part of the plea deal in the case, Grogan has agreed to stay away from the Supreme Court, except its public sidewalks, for a year.

Grogan previously disrupted oral arguments at the Supreme Court in 2006, when the justices were hearing arguments over a law banning late-term abortions. Court records show he pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to spend 15 days in jail and two years on probation. He was also ordered to do 20 hours community service and pay a $500 fine. Last Thursday, Grogan wore a pro-life T-shirt to court.

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