The House of Representatives on June 14 approved a measure that extends security to family members of Supreme Court justices after Democrats failed to get a provision they wanted into the legislation.
The House voted 396–27 to pass the Supreme Court Police Parity Act. All no votes came from Democrats:
- Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio
- Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.
- Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.
- Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas
- Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y.
- Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill.
- Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas
- Rep. Joshua Gottheimer, D-N.J.
- Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.
- Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev.
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
- Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich.
- Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
- Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J.
- Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
- Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
- Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J.
- Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.
- Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.
- Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J.
- Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J.
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
- Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif.,
- Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.
- Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.
The Senate unanimously approved the bill in May, shortly after the unprecedented leak of a draft majority opinion that indicated the nation’s top court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The measure now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for final approval.
The bill grants the Supreme Court Police and the court’s marshal the ability to order protection for the families of Supreme Court justices or officers if such protection is deemed necessary. According to Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the bill’s sponsors, it will enable “around-the-clock” protection for the family members.
Top Democrats in the House said they delayed the vote because they wanted a change that would extend the protection to family members of clerks, an amendment that Republicans opposed.
“Supreme Court justices already have protection. This is about families of Supreme Court justices, and Democrats were fighting for families of law clerks, employees of Supreme Court. They should have protection, too,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said before the House vote.
He noted that the names of several clerks were widely circulated following the leak with suggestions that they were the ones behind the disclosure, and that one viral social media post also mentioned one of the clerks’ spouses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that “no one is in danger” due to the delay in passing the legislation, drawing criticism from Republicans.
Some Democratic lawmakers described the bill as meaningless because Attorney General Merrick Garland already ordered around-the-clock security for the homes of the justices for an undetermined amount of time.
“It took House Democrats some time to get this bill to the floor. The reason it took that much time is, it was House Democrats that wanted to get one itty bitty concession out of this bill, to protect the staff of that institution—the United States Supreme Court—but they refused,” Escobar said.
The bill “is a talking point” that doesn’t “really do anything,” she added.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) noted that every Democrat in the Senate backed the bill and Republicans pointed out that an armed man was arrested near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh this month, well after the Senate approved the legislation.
“We have all known that additional security has been necessary since the Dobbs opinion was leaked last month,” House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “Justice Kavanaugh was targeted by an armed and dangerous man who flew clear across the country to kill him. He had zip ties. He had a plan. And far-left groups have plans to target Justice Amy Coney Barrett and her children. They put out where their children go to school. But Congress kept it here for a month. For a month.”
“These unnecessary delays put the safety of the justices and their families in danger,” he added. “By passing this bill as-is, we’re sending a clear message to the left-wing radicals: you cannot intimidate the Supreme Court justices.”