House to vote on bill to bolster security for Supreme Court justices

House to vote on bill to bolster security for Supreme Court justices

Washington — By a wide bipartisan margin, the House approved on a bill on Tuesday to bolster security for Supreme Court justices and their families, a move that took on added urgency after a California man allegedly armed with a knife and handgun was arrested last week outside the Maryland house of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 396 to 27, and now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Sens. The Senate approved the measure last month thanks to John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Chris Coons (a Democrat hailing from Delaware).

All 27 votes against the bill came from Democrats, including several prominent progressives. Only two New Jersey Democrats voted against the bill, arguing that it should provide protection for federal judges in general. The family of a federal judge in New Jersey was targeted by a gunman in a deadly attack at their home in 2020.

The Supreme Court Police Paraity Act , gives the marshal and Supreme Court police authority to protect the family members and officers of the justices if necessary.

White House press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Mr. Biden supports legislation that will increase security for the Supreme Court’s members and officers. She also stated that the administration takes “very seriously” threats and intimidation against judges.

Senate Republicans urged Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, to not wait too long before bringing the measure up to the House floor for a vote. This was in the wake the incident at Kavanaugh’s house last Wednesday.

House Democrats wanted to expand the measure in order to provide protections for Supreme Court clerks and staff, as well as their families. Cornyn claimed that the legislation’s amendments made a mockery of his and Coons efforts and accused House Democrats leaders of making a transparent attempt to stall it. “

” The line between legitimate public discourses and acts of violence is crossed and House Democrats can no longer turn a blindeye,” he stated. “We don’t have the time to spare when it is about protecting the members and their families. “

But House Minority Leader StenyHoyer accused Cornyn, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, of acting “either in ignorance of the facts and ignoring them” by rejecting House changes.

“Employees have been in there because they are connected with various justices and their family are clearly associated with them,” he stated Tuesday, citing online threats directed against court employees. “It is what is and we’re going forward to move the bill. “

Police detained 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske early in the morning after he called local law enforcement and said he had come from California to kill a “specific United States Supreme Court justice,” according to a FBI affidavit filed in federal court. The threat was made to Kavanaugh by the Supreme Court, and a man was taken into custody in the vicinity of the justice’s Montgomery County, Maryland home. A call to the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center was made after U.S. marshals reported that a man dressed in black and carrying a backpack, and a suitcase emerged from a taxi stop in front of Kavanaugh’s house.

After Roske was arrested, police found in his belongings a black tactical chest rig and tactical knife, a Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, and numerous tools, as well as hiking boots with padding on the outside of the soles and other items, the affidavit states.

He allegedly told police he was upset about the draft Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, and the recent school shooting in Uvalde Texas. He allegedly said he believed Kavanaugh would rule in favor of gun rights.

Roske was accused of trying to murder a Supreme Court justice. In protest of the rollback of abortion rights and the draft decision published last month, demonstrators gathered outside the homes and offices of several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts

and Justice Amy Coney Barrett (

Following the release of the draft, the Supreme Court police reported a “significant increase in violent threats,” including threats made on social media and directed at members of the court, according to an intelligence bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security. Attorney General Merrick Garland also directed the U.S. Marshals Service to provide additional support to the marshal of the Supreme Court to ensure the safety of the justices amid the public backlash.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting.

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