Senate passes bill to protect families of Supreme Court justices

Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court building on Monday.


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WASHINGTON – The Senate swiftly approved a bill to extend police protections for Supreme Court justices to their immediate family members, following protests following a leaked draft ruling that suggested the court could overturn the Roe v. valley.

The measure was passed late Monday with unanimous approval. Broad support in the Senate suggests a clear path to passage in the House, but no immediate plan has been put in place.

An opinion draft leaked last week by Politico indicated that the court’s conservative wing was preparing to overturn the 1973 Roe decision, which recognized abortion as a constitutional right, in the Mississippi abortion case currently being heard by judges. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft was valid but cautioned that it was not final.

Protesters marched through several US cities after Politico published a leaked draft opinion indicating that Roe v. Wade may be overturned. The 1973 precedent established a constitutional right to abortion. Photo: Michael Reynolds/Shutterstock

The Supreme Court is currently surrounded by a security fence to protect against potential threats. Over the weekend, some protesters demonstrated outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the Chevy Chase, Maryland suburb.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Kentucky) accused progressives of trying to harass judges in their homes in order to achieve their desired judicial outcome, saying they were trying to “replace the rule of law with mob rule.” He also said the White House has been slow to condemn such protests.

At the White House’s daily briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said protesters “should never resort to violence, threats or intimidation in any way, shape, or form.”

The Senate is set to vote on Wednesday on whether to adopt legislation to affirm the right of health care providers to provide abortions before a fetus is viable, and to say a patient has a right to have one, in line with existing Supreme Court precedent. In the 50-50 Senate where most legislation requires an overwhelming majority of 60 votes to move forward, the bill is expected to be blocked.

If Roe is abolished, state law will determine the abortion policy. Some states have plans to sharply limit access to abortions, while others have moved to legalize existing law.

write to Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@wsj.com

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It appeared in the May 10, 2022, print edition as “Bill to Strengthen Security for the Advancement of Judges.”

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