ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – A sign displayed at a tea bar in downtown St. Petersburg carries an implicit threat of violence against members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The handwritten sign taped on the storefront window at Speakeasy Kava reads “The tree of liberty must be watered by the blood of SCOTUS JUSTICES.” Pictures of the sign surfaced on Twitter on Thursday.
The sign did not name any current or former members of the court, but one could draw a reasonable inference that it refers to the justices who voted in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade in the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision. Adjacent to the SCOTUS sign were two other signs that said “Abortion is healthcare.” One sign had a hand-drawn image of female reproductive organs.
JUSTICES UNDER THREAT
It’s unclear when the sign was first placed on the window, but the rhetoric coincides with a vitriolic response to the landmark Dobbs decision on June 24. After a copy of the Dobbs case leaked in May, protesters gathered outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to express their disapproval of his vote. One man, 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske, was charged with attempted murder of Justice Kavanaugh on June 8. Police found him with a gun and knife near Justice Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland, according to The Washington Post.
“Threats of violence and actual violence against the justices of course strike at the heart of our democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the time. President Biden also condemned violent threats against members of the court.
Speakeasy Kava’s website boasts of a “comfortable environment where it's easy to talk to others.” Also hanging up in the storefront windows were rainbow-colored flags that said “Pride in Grand Central.” Additionally, Speakeasy Kava has hosted several drag-related events in the past, advertising them on the bar’s social media pages.
The bar’s website lists Doug Marriott and Allen Green as co-owners. When The Florida Standard requested comment, an employee said the owners were not available.