Jun 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House passes bill to increase security for families of Supreme Court justices

Law enforcement officers stand guard as protesters march past Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home on June 8, 2022

Law enforcement officers stand guard as protesters march past Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home on June 8. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

The House passed a bill Tuesday to expand Supreme Court Police protection to justices' families, one week after a man was charged for attempted murder of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Why it matters: After the leak of the Supreme Court draft document indicating the court is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, protests outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices have prompted calls for increased security.

Driving the news: The bill was passed on a large bipartisan vote, 396-27, and was first introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in May. The measure cleared the Senate last month by unanimous consent.

  • The measure now heads to President Biden's desk.

All of the "no" votes were Democrats.

  • Most Democrats in the New Jersey delegation voted against the bill because it doesn’t extend to lower court judges, according to an aide to one of the members.
  • Rep. Mikie Sherill (D-N.J.) introduced a bill creating an avenue for judges to shield their personal information after the 2020 shooting of a New Jersey federal judge's home, but the legislation is stuck in committee.
  • Other Democrats voted against the bill because they wanted it to be tied to legislation to protect abortion providers, according to Politico.

State of play: The bill stalled in the House for nearly a month after the Senate passed it, drawing criticism from Republican lawmakers.

  • "If these reports are correct, an assassination attempt against a sitting justice, or something close to it," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, CNN reports.
  • "This is exactly the kind of event that many feared that terrible breach of the Court's rules and norms could fuel," McConnell added, and criticized the House for not passing the security measure more quickly.
  • House Democrats had sought to expand the scope of the bill to include protection for clerks and other staff members.

Go deeper... Judges urge lawmakers to bolster judicial security after threats surge

Go deeper