Jun 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Man pleads not guilty to attempting to kill Justice Kavanaugh

Photo of Brett Kavanaugh's side profile
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh stands in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 3, 2018. Photo: Jabin Botsford/Pool via Getty Images

Nicholas John Roske on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Driving the news: The plead comes two weeks after the 26-year-old California man was arrested near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Maryland home with a weapon.

  • Roske allegedly told detectives he traveled to Maryland intending to kill Kavanaugh after the court's Roe v. Wade draft decision was leaked. He was then arrested by Montgomery County Police Department officers.
  • After searching the man's backpack, law enforcement officials found a black tactical vest and tactical knife, a pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar, pistol light, duct tape and hiking boots with padding on the outside of the soles.
  • "Roske indicated that he believed the Justice ... would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws," according to the affidavit. "Roske stated that he'd been thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice's Montgomery County address on the internet."
  • Both the White House and the Department of Justice condemned the actions.

The big picture: Congress authorized increased security for Supreme Court justices after the leaked draft led to protests outside their homes.

  • The Department of Homeland Security recently warned that the U.S. faces an increased threat of violence stemming in part from domestic extremists and potential civil unrest surrounding the court's ultimate decision on abortion rights, Axios' Jacob Knutson notes.

What's next: Roske is expected to face a jury trial before Magistrate Judge Ajmel Quereshi on Aug. 23, per ABC News.

Go deeper: Biden signs bill to bolster security for Supreme Court justices' families

Go deeper