The claim: Justice Amy Coney Barrett is under house arrest
As the Supreme Court agreed to take up a controversial Mississippi abortion case, posts surfaced online claiming a member of the court was placed under house arrest by the military.
The claims target the Supreme Court’s newest member, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump to replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Military Puts SCJ Amy Coney Barrett on House Arrest,” reads a screenshot of a headline from a DuckDuckGo search result, which was shared to Instagram on May 21.
In a similar version of the claim posted to Facebook on May 21, a user cited Real Raw News and claimed the site is “generally very accurate.” The claim also made its way to YouTube in a video with more than 2,500// views.
There is no evidence Barrett was placed under house arrest. The false claim stems from a website that says it publishes satire.
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USA TODAY reached out to Real Raw News and social media users who shared the post for comment.
No evidence of arrest
There is no evidence the military has placed Barrett under house arrest. She has been seen in public since the claim first appeared online.
Reports of Barrett being placed under house arrest first appeared May 19 in articles published by Before It’s News and Real Raw News headlined, “Military Puts SCJ Amy Coney Barrett on House Arrest.”
The articles baselessly assert Trump invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807, giving officials the power to arrest citizens for being the target of a military investigation.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C., weeks before her confirmation to the Supreme Court. (Photo: Pool photo by Demetrius Freeman)
Claims that Trump invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807, which allows the president to dispatch the military in states that cannot control insurrections, have been proven false. The only source included in the story is an unnamed “source in Trump’s Deep State battle.”
That’s a reference to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which says there’s a “deep state” apparatus run by political elites, business leaders and Hollywood celebrities that is actively working to undermine Trump.
Additionally, Barrett has been seen since April 15, the day the articles claim the arrest was made. A photo taken by pool photographer Erin Schaff on April 23 shows Barrett posing in a group photo of Supreme Court justices.
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The websites for local and federal District of Columbia courts, the Supreme Court, the Department of Defense, U.S. Army criminal investigation command, federal district court in the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, make no mention of the arrest. There are also no credible news reports that it ever took place.
Website says it publishes satire
The outlet that published the claim has previously published false claims about the arrest of high-profile politicians. Real Raw News defines itself as an “independent publisher” that “explores content often avoided by the mainstream media.”
A disclaimer on the site’s “About Us” page says information on the site is for informational, educational and entertainment purposes and its content contains “humor, parody, and satire.”
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USA TODAY has previously debunkedclaims shared by Real Raw News alleging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., were arrested.
Our rating: False
The claim that Barrett was placed under house arrest is FALSE, based on our research. The claim originated on a website that says it publishes satire, and there is no evidence the arrest ever took place. Barrett has been seen since the date the article claims she was arrested. Similar articles from the site claiming public figures were arrested have been previously debunked.
Our fact-check sources:
- Reuters, May 25, Fact Check-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is not on house arrest
- Real Raw News, May 19, Military Puts SCJ Amy Coney Barrett on House Arrest (archived)
- USA TODAY, Jan. 14, Fact check: The Insurrection Act is not in effect and is unnecessary in DC
- USA TODAY, Feb. 4, What is QAnon? What to know about the baseless, far-right conspiracy theory connected to Marjorie Taylor Greene
- Getty Images, April 23, US-SUPREME-COURT
- District of Columbia Courts, accessed May 30, search DC Courts
- U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, accessed May 27, U.S. Army Crimsoned Records Center
- U.S. Department of Defense, accessed May 30, Amy Coney Barrett search
- Supreme Court of the United States, accessed May 30, Amy Coney Barrett arrest search
- United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia, accessed May 30, Amy Coney Barrett search
- United States District Court District of Columbia, accessed May 30, Amy Coney Barrett search
- United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, accessed May 30, Amy Coney Barrett search
- Real Raw News, accessed May 27, About Us (archived)
- USA TODAY, March 8, Fact check: Hillary Clinton was not arrested by Navy SEALs acting on Trump’s order
- USA TODAY, Dec. 29, 2020, Fact check: Posts cite fake records site to claim Schiff, Pelosi were arrested
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