House Democrats block security-enhancing measure for SCOTUS judges, bill expected to include lawyers

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A bipartisan bill that successfully passed the Senate to bolster security protections for Supreme Court justices amid ongoing protests outside their homes faces a pushback from House Democrats who say that the measure should be extended to lawyers.

The Senate-passed measure, dubbed the Supreme Court’s Policing Parity Act, was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., amid protests in course following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that reported federal protections for abortion granted under Roe vs. Wade could soon be overthrown.

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Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 22, 2022.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The measure would provide Supreme Court justices and their family members with around-the-clock security protection. The legislation also allows Supreme Court police to arrest individuals who interfere with the court’s ability to carry out its duties. functions and creates a criminal sanction for persons who obstruct or impede these functions.

But House Democrats, including Democratic leaders, say the bill doesn’t go far enough in providing security protections and want it extended to others who work on the Supreme Court.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., in a statement Friday, said security protections should be extended to clerks and staff who “have increasingly faced threats to their physical safety”.

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia on March 10, 2022.
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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia on March 10, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“Violence or the threat of violence against judges, their clerks or the families of judicial officials is never acceptable,” Hoyer said. “Our majority is committed to protecting those who serve our country in the federal judiciary, and we believe that this effort should extend not only to family members of justices and justices, but also to family members of court clerks and staff who support them and have increasingly faced threats to their physical safety, which is done in Rep. Stanton’s Supreme Court Family Safety Act.

“As the Senate this week passed a bill that would extend protections to family members of Supreme Court justices, we believe it is essential to protect the families of those who choose to serve their country and their communities as clerks and court staff as well.”

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The measure Hoyer mentioned, the Supreme Court’s Family Safety Act of 2022, was introduced by Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz. According to his office, this would allow “the Marshal of the Supreme Court to authorize the security of the immediate families of the judges as well as court employees, including clerks”.

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Arizona, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the Longworth House office building on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Arizona, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the Longworth House office building on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
(Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

“Following the release of a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the need for adequate security for members of the judiciary has become more evident, as some activists and news sites have ‘doxed’ – or released the private information of – several court clerks, publicly accusing them without evidence of leaking to the press and endangering their safety,” Stanton’s office said.

Hoyer said he hopes Republicans and Democrats can work together to “resolve the differences between the two bills.”

Speaking to Fox News Digital on Thursday, Cornyn said House Democrats were making the “unnecessary” additions to the measure to include people “who aren’t very visible or recognizable like judges are.”

The Supreme Court building in Washington, DC

The Supreme Court building in Washington, DC
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“Now the House wants to do things like add lawyers and other staff to this, which is really unnecessary because virtually all lawyers are anonymous,” he said. “They’re not very visible or recognizable the way judges are, so they’re unlikely to need that kind of protection. Also, our staff here, even in Congress, don’t have that kind of protection. .”

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Cornyn said he thinks the ongoing blocking of the measure by House Democrats is “just a case of people trying to take something that’s a good bill that can pass quickly and make it more complicated and delay its final examination”.

Groups of abortion rights activists have been demonstrating for several days outside the homes of judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito and others. Several protesters have been associated with abortion rights group Ruth Sent Us.

Anders Hagstrom of Fox News contributed to this article.

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