The Supreme Court has asked Congress for approximately $12.4 million in additional funding to better protect judges and the courthouse following the latest threats – a request that followed the arrest of a man near the home being confronted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The judiciary’s annual budget request, released Thursday, includes a $5.9 million increase to expand Supreme Court police protections for judges and a $6.5 million increase in physical security improvements to bolster the Supreme Court building.
“Ongoing threat assessments show evolving risks that require ongoing protection,” the budget documents said. “Additional funding would cater for contract positions that eventually transition to full-time staff, which would expand the capabilities of the Supreme Court Police and allow them to carry out their protective mission.”
The request comes after a man was arrested near Kavanaugh’s home in June and charged with attempted murder when the man allegedly told officers he wanted to kill the judge.
The alleged incident followed the extraordinary leak of the High Court’s draft decision bringing Roe v. Wade picked up. Kavanaugh was one of five judges who, on his official release, joined the majority opinion ending federal protections on abortion and closely mimicking the leaked draft.
Following the leak, Congress has allocated additional funds to extend security protections to judges’ family members and all bank officials if the court marshal deemed it necessary.
Officials also erected a six-foot-tall black security fence around the courthouse, which remained in place for nearly four months.
The Kavanaugh incident and other threats against the conservative members of the court have at times led to accusations from Republicans that Democrats are not taking their safety seriously enough.
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Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had a falling out with Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week about the Justice Department’s handling of last summer’s protests outside the judges’ homes.
In his annual report on the judiciary in December, Chief Justice John Roberts thanked court staff for their help in ensuring the safety of judges.
“The law requires every judge to take an oath to do his or her work without fear or favor, but we must support the judges by ensuring their safety,” Roberts wrote. “A justice system cannot and should not live in fear.”
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