Republicans warn of risk to judges due to delayed security bill
The U.S. House of Representatives won’t vote until next week on legislation that would expand security for the families and staff of U.S. Supreme Court justices. Republicans are criticizing the delay after the recent attempted murder of Judge Brett Kavanaugh this week.
Last month, the US Senate unanimously approved the Supreme Court’s Police Parity Act, which is still awaiting a vote in the House. The bill provides police protection for the families of the nine judges and other court officers if the “marshal determines that such protection is necessary.”
Although some were hoping for a vote on the bill on Thursday, House Democrats want to expand that jurisdiction to include not just family members of judges, but their staff as well.
The bill received renewed pressure to pass after California resident Nicholas John Roske was arrested outside Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland on Wednesday.
The police arrested Roske for saying he wanted to kill the judge. Roske expressed his anger at the possible reversal of Roe vs. Wadethe 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Roske, who reportedly abandoned his plan and turned himself in to authorities, was found with multiple weapons, including a gun, knife and pepper spray. He is currently charged with the attempted murder of a Supreme Court judge.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., briefed reporters at a press conference Thursday on the plans for a House vote on the bill next week when Congress returns to Washington.
“We are working together on the bill that the Senate can approve,” Pelosi said. “We can pass whatever we want. We want it to pass the Senate.”
The Speaker of the House insisted the delay would not endanger the safety of the judges, reminding reporters that US Attorney General Merrick Garland provided armed security to all of the judges’ homes last month.
“The judges are protected. This issue is not about the judges. It’s about the staff and the rest,” she added. “There will be an invoice. But nobody is in danger during the weekend because we don’t have an invoice.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said during an impassioned speech on the House floor Thursday he told House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., that morning that every Republican would support the measure. McCarthy disagreed with the House’s decision to adjourn before voting on the bill, saying it “could be on the president’s desk right now.”
“House Democrats are leaving. Today they want to leave for a long weekend,” McCarthy said.
“How many times do they have to be threatened? How many people have to be arrested with a gun outside their homes?” He asked. “What if he hadn’t called 911. He didn’t just have a gun. He had zip ties. But somehow you want to leave. “
Hoyer claimed on Wednesday that the two sides were “close” and that he was in talks this week to seal a deal.
“I want to see the dotted i’s and the cross t’s. But it was a very positive discussion,” he said, according to The Hill. “So if I’m right, I think we can move relatively soon.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats’ inaction on the bill.
“House Democrats have spent weeks blocking, blocking the measure … related to the safety of Supreme Court justices. House Democrats refused to accept it,” McConnell said Wednesday.
“House Democrats need to pass this bill and they need to do it today. No more messing around with it. They have to pass it. They must end their weeks-long blockade of the Supreme Court security bill and pass it before the sun goes down today.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement that Wednesday’s arrest shows “threats to the lives of judges are horribly real.”
“[I]It is unconscionable for House Democrats to leave their families without police protection for even one more day,” Cornyn said. “Speaker Pelosi must keep the House in session until she passes my bill. Every day they don’t, the threat to the justices grows, the potential for tragedy becomes more likely, and House Democrats reach a new height of political dysfunction.
The drive to expand federal protections for Supreme Court justices gained momentum after Politico released a draft advisory in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, which indicated that five of the court’s conservative justices were set to overturn deerc.Wade. The 1973 ruling legalized abortion nationwide. The court is considering upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, with a final ruling expected later this month.
The conservative National Review newspaper criticized coverage of the assassination attempt on Kavanaugh, noting that USA Today and the Politico Playbook did not appear to cover the news.
After pointing out how The New York Times placed the news on page 20, the publication also took issue with the Times headline, “Man with Gun, Crowbar and Zip Ties Arrested Near Kavanaugh’s Home “. The National Review expressed concern that the headline failed to acknowledge Roske’s intent to assassinate the judge.
Democratic Party critics, including Fox News contributor and former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, have linked Roske’s actions to comments by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., about Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch during a speech at a 2020 abortion activist rally.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you started the whirlwind and you’re going to pay the price,” Schumer warned at the time. “You won’t know what hit you if you go ahead with these horrific decisions.”
About a month before the assassination attempt on Kavanaugh, the abortion activist group Ruth Sent Us staged protests outside the homes of six Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices and released the approximate locations of their residences on its website.
After Roske’s arrest, the group insisted via his Twitter account that he was “committed to non-violence” as he announced further protests at the judges’ homes.
In anticipation of any violence should the court overthrow deera security fence was built outside the Supreme Court building last month.