The nation's Supreme Court justices are facing an "outrageous and dangerous situation," as shown by the arrest of an armed man arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but House Democrats are sending would-be criminals a message by blocking legislation that would protect the members of the high court, Rep. Mike Johnson said on Newsmax on Thursday.
"Every single person who is protesting outside the homes of these justices right now, as we speak, is a criminal," the Louisiana Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "It is a federal law that you are not able to do this … and that is exactly what they're doing, and now their lives are in danger."
The House has not taken up the Senate bill passed in May after protests began over a leaked draft document suggesting the pending overthrow of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and Johnson called it "outrageous" that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "will not move the bill."
"Remember, it passed through the Senate unanimously," he said. "This is not a controversial thing. They need protection and the Department of Justice and the House leadership are doing nothing about it."
House Republicans introduced a bill to make leaks such as the one of the Roe v. Wade draft a federal crime, and Johnson said it will need some Democrat support to agree on the "logical step."
"This has been a direct assault on the independence of the judiciary and our constitutional system," he said. "The rule of law depends upon the independence of our judges who are not subject to the whims of public pressure on the political process."
The legislation, the Leaker Accountability Act, would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to knowingly leak information from the Supreme Court, said Johnson.
"We have to take these measures," he said. "We're in uncharted waters as a nation right now. There's never been anything like this. It's unprecedented, and it's dangerous not only to the lives of the judges themselves, the justices who sit on that court, but to our overall system of justice, and Congress needs to act and do what we can to begin to rebuild the credibility and the safety of this institution."
Johnson also speculated on the leaker's identity, saying the Roe documents had to have come from "one of the liberal law clerks."
Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed the marshal of the court to investigate, but that office has not made any progress, said Johnson.
"They're talking about now getting the data from the cellphones of some of these clerks, but this needs to happen immediately," he said. "We need to identify this person and we have to make absolutely sure this never happens again. This is a dangerous, dangerous situation."
Johnson also questioned why Attorney General Merrick Garland isn't taking action and said that also sends a message to would-be criminals that threats are acceptable.
"Let's not forget Sen. [Chuck] Schumer went on the steps of the Supreme Court and called out Justices Neal Gorsuch and Kavanaugh by name and told them they were releasing the whirlwind and they would pay the price," said Johnson. "This is on their hands."
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