An expanded security protection bill was passed by the United States Senate after a weekend of protests following the leak of the nation’s highest court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade.
Texas Senator John Cornyn and Delaware Senator Chris Coons introduced the Supreme Court Police Parity Act to increase protections provided to the U.S. Supreme Court Justices and their families.
“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,” said Senator Cornyn in a statement. “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.”
The measure passed with bipartisan support and no objections in the Senate on the evening of May 9. The act gives 24-hour protection to the nine Justices and their immediate families which would be provided by the Supreme Court of the United States Police.
On May 9, an event billed as a candlelight vigil held by ShutdownDC took place outside Justice Samuel Alito’s home. Alito authored the majority opinion which was leaked and published by Politico on May 2.
More than 100 people gathered at the private residence in Virginia and chanted “Abort the court!”
Protestors also held demonstrations outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice John Roberts on May 7.
Outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on May 6 that the Biden administration would not condemn protests outside of private residences or at the Supreme Court.
“I don’t have an official U.S. government position on where people protest. We want it, of course, to be peaceful,” Psaki told Fox News reporter Peter Doocy during a press briefing.
Psaki said that while “the president would want people’s privacy to be respected,” it was important to focus on why “people are protesting.”
“Women across the country are worried about their fundamental rights that have been law for 50 years,” she added. “Their rights to make choices about their own bodies and their own health care are at risk.”
Psaki reiterated the position in a tweet published during the protest at Alito’s home. She said that President Joe Biden strongly supports “the Constitutional right to protest” although judges “must be able to do their jobs without concerns for their personal safety.”
.@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. 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.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 9, 2022
“Police have set up a tall fence and blocked off streets this week as people have protested in front of the Supreme Court Building, which is across from the U.S. Capitol. They have also shut down the plaza and steps in front of the building,” per ABC News.
The protection bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.