Whenever horrible shit happens in the world, there are gonna be memes about it. Some make light of the situation; others are a means of coping. But sometimes, certain memes get a bit more pragmatic. Informative, even. Such is the case of the current trend TikTok and Instagram trend of attempting to distribute the Supreme Court Justices’ home addresses, in memeified form.
Besides the example above, another lists the addresses of all five justices who voted to overturn Roe over a picture of a newborn kitten. On TikTok, people are compiling slideshows with photos of the justices along with their home or IP addresses, with hashtags like #deeznuts. None of them have a clear punchline, if there is one at all, but that’s not the point — the point is to publicize the justices’ addresses.
Notably, there’s no statement of intent surrounding these addresses, and of course, nobody has confirmed whether they’re accurate or whether the justices are currently residing there. Again, there’s no call for violence, or any action whatsoever, really. Instead the message just seems to be, “Do with this information what you will.”
Some are calling these memes and TikToks “doxxing,” but that isn’t exactly what’s happening here. In most cases, home addresses are publicly available via voter registrations and real-estate documents, and IP addresses are similarly public. But whether people are learning their addresses through Instagram or elsewhere, protesters have begun showing up outside of justices’ homes, holding up signs in support of abortion and chanting “no privacy for us, no peace for you” at night.
Currently, this isn’t that much of a concern — all justices have ‘round-the-clock security for themselves and their families. There is, however, some controversy regarding whether protesting outside of a judge’s home is legal. Federal law prohibits protests outside of a judge’s home in order to avoid undue pressures or influence, but this has rarely been prosecuted. Some legal scholars argue that interpreting this law too broadly, prohibiting all forms of public messaging in a judge’s neighborhood, would be a violation of the First Amendment.
While sharing someone’s private information without their permission is technically a violation of sites like Twitter, most of these memes and TikToks remain live (and again, registered voters’ addresses are already publicly available online). And once more, none are actually calling for protests outside of their homes. They’re just casually sharing their addresses in a joke-y way.
Supreme Court justices may have a few extra legal protections, but they’re Americans subjected to the same open records as the rest of us. Without saying much of anything else, these memes are at the very least a good reminder of that.