Democrats and Supreme Court Security

Police watch as pro-abortion protesters march past the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Chevy Chase, Maryland June 29.


Stefani Reynolds/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Washington is a mad city these days as protesters harass Supreme Court justices at their homes, and this week they stalked Justice Brett Kavanaugh while he was having dinner at a Morton steakhouse (see Noteworthy and Quotable nearby). Will this finally be enough to get Congress to act to better protect judges and their families?

The Senate returns on Monday after a two-week hiatus, and the first order of business should be passing legislation that will fund security to protect judges’ families. House Democrats ambushed the bill before the break in what appeared to be an act of malice for the decision to be overturned Roe v. calf.

House Democrats reluctantly passed a Senate bill in June to extend police protection to judges’ immediate families, but only after a man was arrested with a gun, knife and burglary tools outside Judge Kavanaugh’s Maryland home. 27 Democrats voted against the bill.

But Congress must also provide the resources to fund extended protections. The Senate unanimously passed legislation giving the US Marshals Service and the Supreme Court an additional $19.4 million to cover increased security costs. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) and Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty (Tenn.) begged House leaders to pass the bill before adjourning last month. “The need and urgency of this security funding is clear,” they wrote. Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi apparently disagreed.

Instead of sending a clean bill straight to Mr Biden’s desk, House Democrats added two independent amendments that require the legislation to go back to the Senate for further voting. However, the Senate had adjourned for two weeks, meaning that it cannot vote on the law until July 11, i.e. Monday at the earliest.

An amendment will see a 75 cent excise tax on Covid-19 vaccines to fund the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is not in immediate danger of going bankrupt. The other says it’s the “spirit of Congress” that the cost of insulin is “often prohibitive” and could “reduce drug use.”

Both measures enjoy bipartisan support, but they are alien to the security law. Perhaps the Democrats were trying to tease the judges while dodging accusations of partisanship. As a friend once advised, when you’re trying to figure out political motives, think lower.

Wonderland: The administrative state has created ideological divisions that cannot be reversed for a long time. But an updated judgment on climate change could help revive the critical role that substantive politics played at the time of America’s founding. Images: Reuters/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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