“Right” To Dine???

You may have heard that a crowd of peaceful protesters gathered outside a restaurant where Justice Kavanaugh was dining one evening recently.  Now, I don’t approve of threats of violence under any circumstances, but from what I can gather, there were none … this was a peaceful protest.  Actions have consequences, and when you make a decision that is life-altering (not in any good way) for more than half the population, I think you have to expect that people will make their displeasure known in whatever way they can.  In fact, one section of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In his July 9th newsletter, Robert Hubbell summed it up well, I think …

These two things are not alike.

A troubling aspect of the Dobbs decision is that many people view it as an abstraction rather than a significant change in the status of women under the Constitution. A small example of that occurred in a protest at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. Justice Kavanaugh was eating dinner at Morton’s yesterday. Word quickly spread, protesters gathered outside the restaurant, and someone called Morton’s to express their displeasure at Kavanaugh’s presence in the restaurant. Kavanaugh later left the restaurant through the back entrance to avoid the protesters.

Morton’s (read: a male manager at Morton’s who didn’t have the sense to consult a woman) issued an offensive statement that read, in part:

“Politics . . . should not trample the freedom of the right to congregate and eat dinner. Disturbing the dinner of all of our customers was an act of selfishness and void of decency.”

Wow! Strong words! Let’s take a look at Morton’s statement and consider the competing injuries of being subjected to free speech and being stalked by bounty hunters seeking a reward for reporting a woman who just had a miscarriage. Spoiler alert: Those two things are not alike.

First, Morton’s asserts there is a “right to eat dinner.” Well, let’s apply the Dobbs analytical framework to that right. The “right to eat dinner” does not appear in the text of the Constitution, nor is there an implied “right to eat dinner” that is a “deeply rooted tradition in our nation’s history.” As explained in Merriam-Webster’s usage note on “dinner” …

“The use of dinner to refer to the main meal of the day, eaten as the last meal of the day, is a relatively recent phenomenon.”

So, sorry, Morton’s, there is no express or implied constitutional “right to eat dinner” under Dobbs.

Second, Morton’s (like Kavanaugh) might be shocked to learn that the Constitution expressly protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Justice Kavanaugh might not like hearing the grievances of the people injured by his decision in Dobbs, but he has no constitutional right to prevent the protesters from expressing those opinions peacefully.

Finally, Kavanaugh knew when he joined the majority in Dobbs that women suffering miscarriages would be reported by bounty hunters to law enforcement in the hope of earning a $10,000 reward. Between 10% to 15% of pregnancies spontaneously miscarry. In Texas, women who suffer miscarriages and seek medical treatment presumptively expose their doctors to criminal prosecution and a $100,000 fine. Thus, the 10% – 15% of women who suffer miscarriages in Texas will likely be denied medical treatment because their doctors fear they will be charged with a felony. Compare that injury to being forced to eat a $75 steak while drinking a $200 bottle of wine as protesters gather peacefully on the street.

Kavanaugh lied his way onto the Court and has engaged in the bad-faith reversal of settled precedents in multiple cases. He should not be surprised that Americans are unhappy with his use of the Court as a raw political weapon. Let’s hope that the peaceful protests cause him to reflect on the fact that his actions have made the lives of American women immensely worse. Perhaps a bit of humility about the real-world consequences of his decisions will temper his thinking in future matters.

As for Morton’s, telling women that protesting their demotion to second-class citizenship is “selfish and void of decency” demonstrates that it is out of touch with what just happened in America. Someone who is not angry at women should take over the PR function at Morton’s.

47 thoughts on ““Right” To Dine???

  1. I hadn’t seen anyone tackle the question I posed in my comment. I had more thoughts so I thought I would share again.

    You love to bash Kavanaugh and the other so-called conservative justices (in truth, only Thomas and Alito are reliable conservatives). You call Kavanaugh a sexual abuser, but this depends on your perspective. I found his confirmation hearing (and Thomas’s thirty years ago), to be a grave injustice. His accusers were not credible, but still his nomination was held up for a couple weeks for yet another FBI investigation. He was investigated about six times, more than enough to say he was vetted. It is wishful thinking to believe he and Thomas are sexual abusers. You don’t like their politics, so you seek to label them and pounce upon any suspicion raised (while often ignoring or excusing similar accusations for people you support); you hope these accusations thoroughly discredit all else they do throughout their careers. The accusers stories fell apart upon examination. We could get into those details another time.

    Politics is often an ugly game, and I don’t like most of the players myself. Still, let’s look at the politics of overturning Roe v Wade. If you want folks to blame, I would point first to Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Harry Reid.

    Justice Ginsberg knew her time was limited in 2015; she could have resigned and allowed President Obama to appoint another before the 2016 election, but she hung on, assuming Hillary Clinton would win. That was a very poor calculation on her part. Dems made sure that Justice Breyer stepped down ahead of the 2022 mid-terms, a lesson learned for them.

    Senator Reid eliminated the filibuster for judicial nominees, so he could push through Obama appointees. Mitch McConnell used the new rule to his advantage to push through three Supreme Court nominees with bare majorities. Now Dems want to get rid of the filibuster altogether, and six months before Republicans likely regain control! Did they learn anything from the last time? You should thank Manchin and Sinema for resisting this. They are bashed by their own party, but they are saving the party from this disastrous next step along with more ruinous spending like Build Back Better.


  2. First, I wouldn’t characterize what happened as an inalienable “right to eat dinner”. The term “right” is far overused in any case. How about folks just be civil and allow someone the opportunity to eat dinner in peace?

    I am highly dubious of the claim that women having miscarriages will be subject to fines and doctors will be disinclined to perform surgeries. There is zero support for these among pro-lifers. This would not be allowed to stand. Even if you can interpret the law in such a way, it will not be manifested in this way. No chance.

    I understand many are upset about the decision, but you must certainly realize this is not an end to abortion in the US. It is returning the right to decide to state legislatures. California will give away abortions with an ice cream at Disney World while Missouri has already banned abortions. The 1973 court decided the issue for the entire country. Regardless of how you stand on the issue of abortion itself, which is more democratic: nine justices decide (as was done in 1973) or 168 million voters decide via their state legislatures (as will be done in 2022)? This is how representative democracy should work. We are returning to the principle of federalism as defined in our Constitution. All this court did was say that the prior court decided wrongly by stripping states of their ability to legislate the issue. All powers not enumerated in the Constitution are returned to the states, as this one should rightly be.

    Finally, I will appeal to you and your readers who appear to more pro-choice. Why is only the life of the mother considered? Our government has the legitimate interest of protecting the lives of children. That needs to be balanced against the future of the mother. The pro-choice side only considers one side of the equation. Here is a snippet from my most recent post on this issue:

    When I married, I made a commitment, not simply a choice. My faith calls it a covenant, a sacred bound. Once married, I am no longer an autonomous being who can make decisions about my own life without impacting others. I have responsibility for my wife and children. I am legally bound by the vow I gave. A pregnant woman and father, through their actions, have assumed such responsibility as well. We can no longer separate the lives of mother and child.

    The relevant choice was the one made before the woman became pregnant. Further, you pretend the pregnant woman’s decision only impacts herself. We all know that this is not true. Along with the child, the father, the family, and the community at large are impacted by the woman’s choice. Often, others force the “choice” upon her, so it may not even be her choice after all. Too many pregnant woman and more often than not fathers as well, want no responsibility for their actions. This is the failing of our culture. We need to hold each accountable or this house of cards will fall.


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  4. I laughed out loud about that “right to eat dinner” … tell that to 38.3 million Americans who live in food-insecure households. What about their rights? Rich people & their so-called “rights”. It’s called PRIVILEGE, baby.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent point, Polly!!! People are putting their children to bed hungry tonight, while Kavanaugh whines because he was scared of the people and they ruined his steak dinner. Where’s my tiny violin … 🎻


  5. Hello. I hear a lot of talk about how Justice Kavanaugh should be able to eat in peace and enjoyment when out. Really and do the rest of the public have that right also? Recently the very court he sits on ruled with him in the majority that gun safety restrictions by states are limited or unconstitutional. So when we the people go out in the public spaces, we face a constant threat of death or harm from gun violence that Kavanaugh made worse. Do we have a right to enjoy our restaurant meal without the threat of violence, gun violence? This is the huge disconnect that drives me crazy. The people making the laws and deciding what rules are legal are not subject to the consequences of those actions, laws, or rules. It seems there are two classes of people when it comes to these rules, those bound by them and those above them. Congress has even gone so far to exempt themselves from some laws they make and recently made protesting at the SCOTUS members home a crime while these same justices refused to stop violent protests at abortion clinics. The same people that open the country to more gun violence are not in the grocery stores and other public spaces that these guns are become ever more common in, they have staff for that. Their workspaces and homes are protected with private and public security forces that the public doesn’t have. They have drivers that are often police officers. So yes I feel protests that make the rule makers uncomfortable are good things when the rules they are creating make the rest of us uncomfortable trying to live our lives and enjoy those public services also. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love Robert Hubble! And as he or someone said, the right to protest loudly and obnoxiously at abortion clinics is protected by an amendment so that means this is too is protected, as long as there is no violence, which would include death threats.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good point, Mary!!! And you don’t hear him or any of the other justices complaining about the likes of the Proud Boys disrupting a reading for children at a library, do you? No, it’s only when it invades their own privacy that they have an objection. I’m with you, though … I draw the line at threats or violence, for that is NOT the way for us to get our point across.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right … they live in their ivory towers, most have never even tried to relate to the real-world problems we average people live with. I’d love to teach them some lessons … 😄! Sunday is gone now … sigh. And Monday is once again knocking at the door, the routine is back! Actually, I am a creature of routine and like it better anyway. Have a great week ahead, Michael! xx


  7. Jill, I agree that Kavanaugh was not fully vetted, per the FBI after the fact. While he was rammed through, the Dems have some culpability for not pushing their concerns sooner. It elevated real concerns to political theater as the deadline approached. Right now, we have two members of SCOUTUS that have been legitimately accused of sexual misconduct that were not completely vetted. This concerns me. Only one of Clarence Thomas’ two accusers testified in the hearings.

    Yet, I do not support picketing where people live or when they are trying to have personal time. It sets a horrible precedent. This would concern me if the person’s name was McCarthy or Pelosi. Adam Kinzinger’s wife received a death threat about her, her child and her husband because her husband dared speak the truth about Donald J. Trump. This is just wrong that she would be threatened, much less him.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Threatening is one thing, Keith, protesting peacefully is another. Does he deserve personal time after what he and the other Justices did? Not in my books! If he doesn’t want protesters surrounding him, them he should never have given people reason to protest. But he gave them a huge reason to protest, so he brought this upon himself!
      The SCOTUS JUSTICES are not GODS. They do not get to act, and then be immune from their actions. They knew what they were doing was wrong. They are lucky stocks are against the law, because the six who signed that decision should be in stocks right now! Not j7st in my opinion, I’m pretty sure…

      Liked by 3 people

    • Keith, you wrote “the Dems have some culpability” … Yes they do!! And this is one of the problems as I see it in today’s “political world.” The Dems are waaaay too quick to roll over and “compromise.” The Repukes scream, stamp their feet, go on Twitter, take up news space …

      And end up getting their way.

      As for the demonstration? Piss on Kavanaugh. Too bad his steak wasn’t overcooked.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re right, Nan … the Democrats don’t bring out the heavy artillery for the fight, and in fact they cannot seem to even unify these days. Some are saying Joe should go, while others are pointing out his flaws rather than focusing on the fact that he has done a lot of good in his 18 months in office and could have done more if he had even a bit of cooperation from the “other side”.


    • Yes, the vetting process was flawed, apparently certain justices lied to the senators during their confirmation hearings, two are sexual abusers, and the U.S. Senate put their own political careers ahead of the nation in confirming Kavanaugh and Barrett, even knowing that neither were qualified for the job. But now, we are stuck with them until somebody gets brave enough to impeach them.

      I would never support violence or threats of violence, but I think peaceful protest is the only way we have of making our voices heard. If that means we protest outside their homes or a restaurant, so be it, for at least they cannot claim they didn’t know we were displeased with them. The alternative is … there is none. Since they are not elected, then we cannot simply vote them out. We really have no other way of making our voices heard. Again, though, I would NOT condone threats, destruction of property, or violence.


      • Jill, I am not a fan of the process that is now the norm. A simple majority invites more extreme candidates than we deserve. On Kavanaugh, I wish the Dems, Senator Feinstein in particular, raised her concerns two months before when she first had them. Then, Kavanaugh’s candidacy might have unraveled. To be frank, we deserve a the best in jurisprudence on SCOTUS and I think we have missed the mark on a few.

        I hear your points on protesting, but even without the scary temperament of too many in our society, I don’t think we should invade people’s personal time. The message gets lost with the focus on the intrusion not the protest. I do support the right to protest and have done my share, but I do have a concern with boundaries. I don’t want a more extreme group getting in the face of AOC, Bernie Sanders, Liz Cheney, eg. at the wrong time and place. Thanks for your post and great comments. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with all you say. I think we missed the mark on Thomas, Barrett, and Kavanaugh. I’m not saying that only because I disagree with their ideology, but more. In the case of Thomas, his wife’s actions in trying to overthrow the 2020 election should have made him either resign, or at the very least recuse himself from any cases pertaining to the insurrection, yet he did neither. In Barrett’s case, because she simply has zero qualifications to sit on the highest court in the land. And in Kavanaugh’s, because he is a sexual abuser AND because he lied during his senate confirmation hearings.

          I think you make a good point about the scary temperament of too many in our society, and I would add the unlimited access to firearms by those same people. Point made and taken. I still think, though, that when they made the decision to ruin the lives of many women — we’ll never know how many — and to destroy our right to privacy, that they gave up their right to privacy. They invaded our bodies, but we cannot protest outside their homes? Sigh. I don’t know what the answer is, my friend, but thus far, silence doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere. To be honest, if I were to run into Justice Kavanaugh on the street, I would spit in his face … that’s how much I despise him and what he and his cronies have done and will do to this nation. Sigh.


  8. Advocates of the protests against some Supreme Court justices do not understand the basic American civics, namely the separation of powers and the nature of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not a political body or position like the Congress and the Presidency. That is, the Supreme Court, by design, is not subject to pubic opinion. The justices have life long terms and are not elected but appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate according to the US Constitution. Consequently, protesting against a justice personally, say at his home (which is against federal law) or when he is out in public, is a waste of time.

    Efficacious protests against Court justices therefore, should be directed at the President who chose them and the senators who approved them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting statement on your part, Silence. I have studied Constitutional Law and have a MA in Political Science, so I think I DO understand “basic American civics” as well as the role of the Supreme Court. And I DO support peaceful protest against the 5 Justices who voted to rob women of their rights. It is our constitutional right, and furthermore the ONLY means with which we can ensure the Justices understand our views. As I said in my post, actions have consequences and perhaps the consequence for their bigoted actions are having their din-din disrupted. Oh, and by the way, protesting outside the home of a justice does not violate federal law.


  9. Pingback: “Right” To Dine??? | Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • The Court is designed not to be subject to public opinion which can become enthralled to dark passions. As a result, protesting a Supreme Court justice is a waste of time. The leaked Dobbs draft opinion months ago and final Court decision against both Dobbs and Roe v Wade prove that protesting the justices was a waste of time. It is best to protest the people responsible for the present Court since they can be affected greatly by public opinion: senators who approved the justices and the President who chose them. However, President Trump has been under intense pressure for the last 6 years and has only gained political strength. But GOP Senators are routinely feckless and cowardly. Those individuals would make excellent targets of protest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Justices need to know that the majority strongly disagree with their ruling. It does no good to tell the Senators who approved them or the former guy who nominated them, for they have no power over the Court now. It is the Justices themselves who must see the consequences of their actions.


        • I hear you. But nobody has power over the Court now. And that is precisely the point. Protesting against Bret Kavanaugh or the court in general is like beating your head against a wall. Jill, the Democrat Party is about to go down big time if the polling is to be believed. Would not directing resources and energy to doable things be more wise?


      • Protesting the draft was not expected to change the expected ruling, IT WAS TO SHOW STRENGTH, AND TO LET THE POLITICIANS KNOW THE PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO ORGANIZE. But you would not see that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you. You proved my point. Supreme Court justices are not politicians. Therefore, they could not care less about a “show of strength” by a political faction. But protesting politicians can be efficacious as you rightly indicate. Politicians’ careers depend on public opinion.


          • They are not politicians and therefore THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE LAW, only to uphold the laws. They did not uphold Roe vs Wade, which was historically the law of the land.


    • I agree. They surely didn’t think when they decided to take away women’s rights that we would simply fall to our knees and say, “Yes, Massa, now can I get you your slippers?” But Kavanaugh, especially, is a coward and an abuser of women, as we learned during his confirmation hearing.


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