Washington Democratic including President Biden swiftly responded to the weekend protests outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes including a Senate vote Monday to extend more security to the judges and their families. But as of Wednesday night, House leaders acknowledged having no plan to hold a similar vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday he’ll soon begin talks with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler about how to move forward but acknowledged having yet to read the Senate measure passed on a fast-track process known as “unanimous consent.”
“Let me say emphatically: We need to protect Supreme Court justices and their families, period. We’re a nation of laws, not of violence, not of intimidation,” said Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat.
The protests follow a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that indicates the high court’s conservative majority will decide on a Mississippi abortion bill that will effectively reverse the court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that gave women the constitutional right to access to an abortion.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, also said he’s yet to have read the Senate bill. However, the New York lawmaker said he supports the concept of ramping up security for any branch of government being threatened with violence.
“We’ll have an opportunity to review the particulars of the legislation. I haven’t,” he said, according to The Hill newspaper. “But I certainly support the notion that public servants should be protected in the strongest way possible at all times. If anyone believes in that it’s House Democrats, who were almost overrun by a violent mob of insurrectionists on Jan. 6.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is publicly supporting the protests, which have also been staged outside of her San Francisco home, saying demonstrators are “channeled their righteous anger.”
The Senate legislation expands the mission of the Supreme Court Police to include the protection of the nine justice’s immediate family members.
The White House said Monday that Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, this week called the protests outside of the homes of Alito and other conservative-leaning justices “reprehensible.”