By a large bipartisan margin the House approved a bill to strengthen security for Supreme Court justices and their families. The move gained further urgency after a man from California allegedly armed with a knife and a handgun was arrested last week outside the Maryland home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. However, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had initially stalled on it, facing immediate backlash and being called an ‘evil woman’ as critics couldn’t believe she took this long.
The bill cleared the House on a 396-27 vote and is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature. The measure crafted by Sens. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, passed the Senate last month.
The 27 votes opposed to the bill came from Democrats, including many leading progressives. All except two New Jersey Democrats voted against passage, contending that it should expand protection to all federal judges. The family of a New Jersey federal judge was attacked by a gunman in a deadly assault on his home in 2020.
The proposal, called the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, gives the Supreme Court marshal and Supreme Court police the authority to provide protection to family members of justices or any judicial officer if it is deemed necessary.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on June 13 to reporters that Biden backs legislation to fund increased security for the Supreme Court and its members.
“As the president has consistently made clear, public officials — including judges — must be able to fulfill their duties without concern for their personal safety or that of their families. Any violence, threats of violence, or attempts to intimidate justices are untenable and have no place in our society,” he declared in a statement. “That’s why the Biden administration has devoted additional resources, including U.S. Marshals, toward the protection of justices. It’s also why we denounced the threat to Justice Kavanaugh in the strongest terms and why the president has supported legislation such as this for weeks.”
BREAKING: House Democrats just BLOCKED a bill to provide more security for Supreme Court justices and their families.
This passed unanimously in the Senate, yet Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring it up for a vote—despite today's foiled plot to kill Justice Kavanaugh. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/W94z8xh90u
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 9, 2022
Senate Republicans pleaded with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to delay bringing the measure to the House floor for a vote following the incident outside Kavanaugh’s home last week.
House Democrats have been seeking to expand the measure to include additional protections for Supreme Court clerks, staff and their families. But Cornyn called the proposed amendment a “mockery” of his and Coons’ efforts and accused the House Democratic leadership of staging a “transparent attempt to block the legislation.
“The line between legitimate public discourse and acts of violence has been crossed, and House Democrats cannot continue to turn a blind eye,” the Republican from Texas added. “We don’t have time to spare when it comes to protecting the members of the court and their families.”
Police arrested Nicholas John Roske, 26, in the early morning hours after he called local law enforcement and claimed he had come from California to kill a “specific U.S. Supreme Court justice,” according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court. The Supreme Court confirmed that this threat was directed against Kavanaugh.
Roske has been charged with attempting to murder a Supreme Court justice.
Fox News host Jesse Watters posed a question to his audience, asking: “did orders come from the top?”