Editors at the Washington Examiner document major problems at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Six anti-abortion protesters were found guilty by a federal jury in Nashville last week of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and “conspiracy against rights” — both felony charges. They were prosecuted by the Justice Department after they sang hymns and prayed in the hallway of a Tennessee abortion clinic. One of the protesters, Paul Vaughn, was arrested at his house days later by the FBI in front of his wife and 11 children.

Video of the protest — a very mild affair — shows a peaceful vigil to persuade expecting mothers against abortion. But in its charges against Vaughn and the others, the Biden administration accused the defendants of using “force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services.” As a result, these men and women now face up to 11 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

This is one of several recent examples of President Joe Biden’s aggressive and unprecedented application of the FACE Act, which the Justice Department has been using to intimidate activists. In 2022, Mark Houck, a Catholic father, was charged with violating the FACE Act and arrested by the FBI in front of his seven children. He also faced 11 years in prison but was acquitted on appeal after U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert concluded that the law “[seemed] to be stretched a little thin here” by prosecutors.

That was an understatement. The Justice Department deliberately conflates peaceful actions such as prayer with physical obstruction so it can bring heavy charges against those who actively oppose abortion. The FACE Act prohibits intimidation and the use of force that is used to interfere with access to abortion clinics. It does not prohibit non-intrusive protest or supersede activists’ free speech rights.

The Biden administration also seems to have forgotten that the FACE Act protects pro-life pregnancy centers as well.