By Mark Gruber
Demonstrators walked up and down his street in Alexandria, lit candles, and chanted slogans like “Alito is a coward” and “our bodies, our choice.”
The bipartisan bill, which was enacted by voice vote with no objections, seeks to ensure justices and their families are protected as the court deliberates abortion access and whether to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
It did not provide funding, which could come later. However, it aims to put the court on par with the executive and legislative branches, making certain the nine justices are given enough security as some protesters have gathered outside their homes. The bill now advances to the House for its consideration.
Protests have started in front of the Supreme Court Building and around the country after a leaked draft opinion suggested a majority of conservatives on the court are prepared to end the constitutional right to an abortion.
The Senate legislation is a technical change that allows Supreme Court law enforcement to deliver around-the-clock security to immediate family members, in line with protection for some people in the executive and legislative branches. It was funded by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Cornyn said threats to Supreme Court justices and their families are “disgraceful,” and attempts to intimidate the independence of the judiciary branch shouldn’t be tolerated.
“The House must take up and pass it immediately,” Cornyn said.
Dozens of people also assembled over the weekend outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in the Washington and Maryland suburbs.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Monday that President Joe Biden “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.”
Earlier on Monday, Psaki suggested that the nation is at “serious risk” of a nationwide abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“I think we’re at serious risk,” the press secretary replied when asked how likely a ban on abortion across the nation was, apparently not optimistic about Democrats’ chances in the midterms of holding on to power in Washington.
Psaki said that the White House Counsel’s Office, the White House Gender Policy Council, and the Department of Justice are looking at a “range of considerations” to take “every step we can to protect women’s fundamental rights and protect rights beyond that.”