Arrest Near Kavanaugh Home Highlights a New Threat

Concern grows for security of Supreme Court justices
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2022 7:31 AM CDT
Focus Turns to Security for Supreme Court Justices
US marshals patrol outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Chevy Chase, Md., Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The arrest of an armed man near the home of Brett Kavanaugh has put the focus on security for the Supreme Court and its justices—not to mention turmoil within the court at a particularly volatile moment. Coverage:

  • In Congress: Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Thursday delayed action on a Senate plan to provide more security for justices, reports the New York Times. Pelosi says the House will take it up early next week but needs time to hash out details, including how far the protection will extend to justices' families. Top Republicans criticized the delay and suggested Democrats seem to care about such threats only when they're directed at fellow Democrats.
  • Criticism: “How many times do they have to be threatened?” said House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy in faulting the House delay. “How many people need to be arrested with a gun outside their home?” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said of the delay: “No more fiddling around with this. They need to pass it today.”

  • Schumer's words: Republicans were faulting Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in particular, who said at a 2020 abortion-rights rally that Kavanaugh and other conservative justices "have released the whirlwind" and "will pay the price," adding, "You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions." Schumer apologized the following day. On Thursday, in the wake of the arrest near Kavanaugh's home, GOP Sen. Roger Marshall tweeted that Schumer "called for this violence," per Insider. "The armed lunatic who showed up at Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home was simply following orders." Fox News details more of this kind of criticism. And Politico notes that justice Samuel Alito recently took the unusual step of delivering a speech at an unspecified location after protesters gathered at his home, as they did at Kavanaugh's.
  • Turmoil: Veteran court reporter Nina Totenberg of NPR reported this week that the court, usually in a cooperative mood this busy time of year, is instead "riven with distrust among the law clerks, staff and, most of all, the justices themselves." The leaked draft opinion and the launch of an investigation into who's behind it is a primary reason. One source tells her "the place sounds like it's imploding." Worried clerks are "lawyering up" as the investigation unfolds.
  • Suspect: The man arrested near Kavanaugh's house, identified as 26-year-old Nicholas Roske of Simi Valley, California, allegedly told police he planned to kill Kavanaugh because he was upset about the abortion opinion and gun safety. Roske faces charges including attempted murder. The FBI has searched his family home, reports ABC News.
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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