Govs. Hogan, Youngkin Call On Feds To Take Lead In Securing Supreme Court Justices' Homes
BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) -- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday called on federal law enforcement to "provide sustained resources" to secure the homes of Supreme Court Justices, where demonstrators are protesting a leaked draft opinion suggesting the court is poised to overturn Roe V. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion.
Dozens of people also gathered over the weekend outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. More than 100 people gathered Monday night outside Justice Samuel Alito's home in Virginia, lighting candles and chanting, "Abort the court!"
In a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, the governors referenced a federal law that they say "prohibits picketing the home of a judge with the same to influence the judge's decision-making process."
"It is in our hands to ensure that applicable federal law is enforced to preserve the integrity of our American judicial system and the safety of our citizens," Hogan and Youngkin said.
Maryland and Virginia State Police are working in conjunction with federal agencies to assess and assist with security threats, but the governors said: "federal law enforcement entities must take the lead and provide sustained resources to protect the Justices and ensure these residential areas are secure in the weeks and months ahead."
Department of Justice spokesperson Anthony Coley on Wednesday said Garland directed U.S. Marshals to provide additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police.
The Senate passed legislation Monday to beef up security for Supreme Court justices, ensuring they and their families are protected in light of the leak.
The legislation is a technical change that allows Supreme Court law enforcement to provide around-the-clock security to immediate family members, in line with protection for some people in the executive and legislative branches. It was sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Cornyn said threats to Supreme Court justices and their families are "disgraceful" and attempts to intimidate the independence of the judiciary branch shouldn't be tolerated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Monday that President Joe 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."
Police have set up a tall fence and blocked off streets this week as people have protested in front of the Supreme Court Building, which is across from the U.S. Capitol. They have also shut down the plaza and steps in front of the building.
"Trying to scare federal judges into ruling a certain way is far outside the bounds of normal First Amendment speech or protest," Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said ahead of the vote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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