The United States House of Representatives finally passed the bill designed to increase security for Supreme Court justices and their families on Tuesday.
As per the bill's text, the "Supreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022" amended Title 40 of the United States Code that grants security-related authorities to the Supreme Court equivalent to that of the country's executive and legislative branches.
The particular amendment involved adding an additional provision to Section 6121 (a) (2) and grants that the protection is extended to "any member of the immediate family of the Chief Justice, any Associate Justice, or any officer of the Supreme Court if the Marshal determines such protection is necessary."
A Bill Increasing Security Protections
The bi-partisan bill's approval comes in the face of increasing threats to the lives of the Supreme Court Justices. Last June 8, a man, Nicholas John Roske, was arrested near the home of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh for one count of attempted murder alongside Ruth Sent Us targeting Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Both justices were part of the majority that approved the overruling of Roe v. Wade in the draft opinion exposed by Politico in early May. The leaked opinion pre-empted the release of the justice's decision scheduled this month or early July on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case. The case brings into question the constitutionality of states banning abortions for 15 weeks of pregnancy and beyond.
NPR said the bill was introduced by Texas Senator John Cornyn who emphasized that threats to the physical safety of the justices and their families can not be tolerated. Cornyn said such threats or attempts to do so through intimidation or influencing the independence of the judiciary-as the protests simultaneously staged by pro-choice advocates outside the homes of justices for days-are but disgraceful.
The 5-Week Delayed House Approval
According to The Christian Post, the overwhelming approval of the House of Representatives on the bill came five weeks after the United States Senate unanimously approved it. The bill has been sent to President Joe Biden for signature.
ABC 7 reported the bill was delayed by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who blocked it because new gun control laws are being stalled. Ocasio-Cortez reasoned that gun control laws are not getting the same unanimous approval as protections for "everyday people."
While other legislators--New Jersey Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman, Bill Pascrell, and Albio Sires--opposed the bill out of a need to further expand the coverage of protections to federal judges and their families.
The New Jersey Representatives even issued a joint statement acknowledging their full support for expanding security for Supreme Court Justices but highlighted similar threats faced by federal judges and their families. The legislators cited the case of Judge Esther Salas whose son was killed and whose husband is still recovering from a gun shot wound by a man who pretended to be a FedEx delivery crew.
The bill's urgency only came to light after the attempted murder of Kavanaugh occurred last week. Roske arrived mid morn outside of Kavanaugh's Maryland home and turned around when he saw the two security marshals guarding it. The disturbed man then called 911 and unveiled plans to kill the justice. The police arrested him and discovered he was loaded with deadly weapons including a Gloc 17 gun and a knife.