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Bill to increase security for Supreme Court justices remains stalled in House

Nancy Pelosi

Kevin Dietsch/Getty AFP/East News

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/09/22

Arrest of armed man outside Kavanaugh’s home prompted renewed calls to move on the Senate-passed legislation.

The day after an armed man was arrested outside of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised that the House will vote on a bill that would increase security for Supreme Court justices and their families next week.

“We had hoped that we could do it today but we certainly will do it at the beginning of next week,” Pelosi told reporters.

The legislation has been stalled in the House after passing the Senate by unanimous consent in May. The legislation was introduced after a week in which protesters gathered at the homes of conservative justices following the leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The need for heightened security was highlighted after Nicholas Roseke, 26, of Simi Valley California, was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempted murder. After he was apprehended, Roseke told law enforcement officials that he had planned to kill Kavanaugh, and that he was motivated, in part, because of the leaked court opinion.

Politico reported that the legislation to beef up security for justices and their families was stopped in its tracks over Senate Republican opposition to House Democrats’ proposal that court clerks have the same kind of protection as the justices and their families.

“It’s about staff and the rest. The justices are protected,” Pelosi said. “Nobody is in danger over the weekend because of our not having a bill.”

The bill passed last month by the Senate would provide security for “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.”

Since the leaked Dobbs opinion, the U.S. Marshals Service have been tasked with protecting the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices. The legislation under consideration would enhance that protection, and extend it to the justices’ family members.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), co-sponsor of the Senate bill told CNN that a compromise with House Democrats over extending protection to clerks and other staff is in the works.

“I’ve actually been engaging with several House members about how we come to a negotiated compromise on that bill and move it forward promptly,” he said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Duck Durbin said that “we’re ready to meet with them and resolve our differences,” reported CNN.

”What happened this week with Justice Kavanaugh is a reminder that we live in a dangerous place, and these people are vulnerable and we should protect them,” Durbin said.

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