Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that House amendments to the bill providing protection to Supreme Court justices will not pass the Senate
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delayed the House from voting on the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, which the Senate unanimously approved last month, and asserted that nobody is in danger and that the justices “are protected.” The S.4160 bill seeks to “grant the Supreme Court of the United States security-related authorities equivalent to the legislative and executive branches.”
Pelosi wanted to add protection to the staff of the justices as well in the bill clause. However, McConnell and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who drafted the bill, accused House Democrats of stalling the measure.
“The version of the Supreme Court security bill that apparently they’re going to try to pass on suspension tonight is not going to pass the Senate,” McConnell said to reporters, in a Capitol hallway interview. “The security issue is related to Supreme Court justices, not nameless staff that no one knows.”
The calls for increased security comes amid demonstrations outside the justices’ private residences and an incident on June 8 when an armed man, later identified as Nicholas John Roske of California, was arrested near the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Roske has been charged with attempting to kidnap or murder, or threatening to assault, kidnap, or murder a federal judge.
Threats on the justices’ safety have escalated recently after the unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that could overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which classifies access to abortion as a constitutional right. Left-wing protests have broken out across the country, while some have focused on targeting the justices by demonstrating outside their homes, prompting the senators to vote on the bill.
Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement on May 9, “Threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families are disgraceful, and attempts to intimidate and influence the independence of our judiciary cannot be tolerated.”
“I’m glad the Senate quickly approved this measure to extend Supreme Court police protection to family members, and the House must take up and pass it immediately.”
An upcoming ruling by the conservative majority is expected to result in additional protests and possible threats to the justices’ and their immediate families’ safety.
“For the 3rd time in a week, I’m calling for a vote for stronger security for Supreme Court Justices—ALL of them. This isn’t partisan. The threat is real. Why is Speaker Pelosi blocking something that the Senate has already passed unanimously?” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a tweet on Monday.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said in an advisory late Monday that the bill would be voted on in the House Tuesday, without additional amendments that included personnel safety, according to The Washington Post.
Republicans have refused to approve the changes, which some say seek to protect the clerk suspected of leaking the draft opinion that has led to the angry protests.
Chief Justice John Roberts said that the leak was “absolutely appalling,” and described the individual as “foolish” if they intended to influence the final court decision. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here,” Roberts said in a statement.