Tightened security for Supreme Court justices as protests spread to Alito’s home

Abortion rights activists gathered outside Judge Samuel Alito’s home in Virginia on Monday night to protest the draft opinion he wrote that was leaked last week from the Supreme Court, signaling to the public that the court could soon overturn the Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion across the country. .

While the protests spread to Alito’s home, after Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh also saw protesters at their Maryland homes over the weekend, the Senate voted unanimously Monday night. a bill to provide security details for judges and their families. The bipartisan bill, authored by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, heads to the House for a possible vote. If passed, it would go to the desk of President Joe Biden.

Two federal law enforcement sources told ABC News on Monday that steps have been taken to increase security details around individual judges, including in their homes. The US Marshals Service also said they are assisting the Supreme Court bailiff with regard to growing security concerns in the wake of Politico. obtaining the draft opinion, but did not comment further on specific security measures.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Monday night’s demonstrations as an attempt to influence judges and “replace the rule of law with the rule of the mob,” he said.

“We have seen angry crowds gathering in the private homes of judges’ families. The activists published a map of their addresses. Law enforcement had to put up a security fence around the Supreme Court,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “Trying to scare federal judges into ruling a certain way is far outside the bounds of First Amendment speech or protest.”

McConnell went on to cite a federal law, 18 US Code Section 1507, that prohibits “picketing and parades” intended to influence judges, suggesting that the law could make the actions of protesters illegal.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that while “the other side” has voiced opposition to peaceful protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices, there has been a “hypocrisy of silence.” ” by Conservatives who have remained silent about other protests in front of officials. houses

“There are voices on the right that have called this protest that is happening while remaining silent for years about protests that have occurred outside the homes of school board members, the Michigan secretary of state, or that include threats to women seeking reproductive health care. or even an insurrection against our Capitol,” Psaki said.

“So I know there’s outrage right now, I guess, over the protests that have been peaceful today, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges’ houses and that’s the position of the president, but the silence is pretty deafening about the whole thing. the other intimidation that we have seen several people.

ShutDownDC, which organized the event, has more demos planned for this week.

More than 100 people attended the gathering outside Alito’s home in Alexandria, which included speakers, a candlelight vigil, quiet moments of reflection and unified chants, including, at one point, “Alito is a coward! Alito is a coward!” a coward!”

It was unclear if Alito and his family were home at the time, but law enforcement officers were on the scene as the protest remained peaceful.

Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin tweeted that state police were also assisting federal and local law enforcement “to ensure the safety of our citizens, including Supreme Court Justices, who call Virginia home.”

The protesters are part of the majority of Americans who believe that Roe v. Wade should stay, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week. But across the country, if Roe is overturned, at least 26 states would ban abortion or severely restrict access to it.

The justices are expected to meet in person, albeit privately, at the court building on Thursday for their weekly conference, marking the first official meeting of the nine since the leaked draft sent shockwaves through the court and across the country. . The next possible opinion publication day is next Monday.

For his part, Alito canceled an appearance at a court conference last week after the draft decision was leaked. Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking at the conference, said judges “will not be intimidated.”

“We cannot be an institution that can be intimidated into giving you the results you want. The events of earlier this week are a symptom of that,” Thomas said, according to Reuters.

Democrats will force a Senate vote to protect abortion access on Wednesday. Although it will almost certainly fail, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that it will be a revealing vote.

“Tomorrow, there will be no more hiding places. There will be no more distractions. There will be no more obfuscations where all the members of this chamber are,” Schumer said. “Republican senators will have to choose. Either vote to protect women’s rights to exercise freedom over their own bodies, or support the Supreme Court while 50 years of women’s rights are reduced to rubble before our very eyes.”


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