The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to give similar high-level security services to United States Supreme Court justices' families as other top-ranking officials and their families receive after protests flared up at the homes of the court's conservative members in the wake of a leaked draft opinion striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade abortion ruling.
"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," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, co-sponsor of the Supreme Court Police Parity Act said Tuesday. "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."
Cornyn and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced the bipartisan legislation May 5 that would extend security protection to the justices in a similar way to certain Article I and II "officers and their families."
U.S. Code Title 40, Section 6121 already gives U.S. Marshal protection to the justices themselves, as well as "guests" of the court on the grounds of the federal building, or "in any location."
The bill, S. 4160 extends U.S. Marshals protection to the immediate families of the nine Supreme Court justices.
"I am glad to see this bipartisan bill unanimously pass the Senate in order to extend security protection to the families of Supreme Court members," Sen. Coons said.
The legislation, which now must be adopted in the House, came about after pro-abortion protesters went to the homes of several of the conservative court justices following the report of a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito signaling the court striking down the 50-year-old decision making abortion legal and a right in the United States.
The leaked draft ruling, which was confirmed as authentic by Chief justice John Roberts last week, would overturn the Roe and 1992's Casey rulings affirming abortion as a constitutional right, and send the issue back for the individual states to decide.
News of the potential ruling, which Roberts said was not final and could change, led to multiple protests at churches and other pro-life sites around the nation during the weekend, the BBC reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that while President Joe Biden supports the right to protest, it does not include the right to be violent.
"[President Biden] strongly believes in the constitutional right to protest," Psaki said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday. "But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety."
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