OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Last week as the SCOTUS justices deliberated over the fate of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, a draft of an opinion on the matter by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked causing an unprecedented public response.
In addition to the leaked draft, private information such as home addresses of the SCOTUS justices have been leaked, or “doxed” and the publication of this personal information by the press has caused abortion-rights activist groups to protest outside the homes of justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito and others.
Logic dictates the leak was intentional to cause just such chaos. The opinion was a draft, not a final opinion. The court’s conservative justices were expected to look at the legislation and overturn it, giving the question of abortion back to the states.
Justices of SCOTUS have never before been subject to threatening pressure such as this, especially as they are not elected but appointed officials whose job it is to interpret the U.S. Constitution, not please mob groups.
The Hill’s Bill Maher said Friday as he appeared on a Fox News panel that protesting outside of the homes of Supreme court justices is “wrong’ and “against the law.” Taking exception to White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s flimsy stance on the protests, Maher added,” It’s intimidation!” and “Would you want this outside your house?”
Now the Senate has passed a bipartisan bill, the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, which would ‘provide Supreme Court justices and their families around-the-clock security protection as well as allow the Supreme Court Police to arrest individuals who interfere with the court’s ability to perform its duties. The bill also creates a criminal penalty for individuals who impede or obstruct those duties.”
around-the-clock security protection,” Fox News reported.
The bill was introduced in a bipartisan manner by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
But in the House, Democrats say that the bill should be expanded to include law clerks, and have come up wit their own bill.
Fox News reported that House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., in a statement released Friday, said the security protection should be extended to law clerks and staff who “have increasingly faced threats to their physical safety.”
“Violence or the threat of violence against judges, their clerks, or the families of judicial-branch officials is never acceptable,” Hoyer said. “Our majority is determined to protect those who serve our country in the federal judiciary, and we believe that this effort must extend not only to the family members of judges and justices but to the family members of the clerks and staff who support them and have increasingly faced threats to their physical safety, which is done in Rep. Stanton’s Supreme Court Families Security Act.”
The measure Hoyer mentioned, the Supreme Court Families Security Act of 2022, was introduced by Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz. According to his office, it would “allow the Marshal of the Supreme Court to authorize security for the immediate families of the justices as well as court employees, including clerks.”
“While the Senate passed a bill this week that would extend protection to Supreme Court justices’ family members, we believe that it is critical to safeguard the families of those who choose to serve their country and their communities as judicial clerks and staff as well,” Hoyer said.
Republicans say that Democrats are merely trying to ‘stall’ or include complications to the bill.
There are no reported instances of protests against clerks as of this date.
Speaking to Fox News Digital Thursday, Cornyn said House Democrats are making the “unnecessary” additions to the measure to include individuals who are “not highly visible or recognizable like the justices are.”
“Now the House wants to do things like add law clerks and other staff to this, which is really unnecessary because virtually all the law clerks are anonymous,” he said. “They’re not highly visible or recognizable like the justices are, so they’re unlikely to need that kind of protection. Plus, our staff here even in Congress is not provided that sort of protection.”
Cornyn said he believes the stall in progress on the measure from House Democrats is “just a case of people trying to take something that is a good bill that can pass quickly and make it more complicated and to delay its ultimate consideration.”
An investigation as to the source of the leak has been called for, and clerks are among those to be investigated.
Chief Justice John Roberts provided a statement after the leak occurred, which says in part, “Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the court. this was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
Justice Roberts continued, “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”
So, rather than clerks being victims of threats, it seems that group might hold an answer to the source of the leak.
Hoyer said he hopes Republicans and Democrats can work together to “resolve differences between the two bills.”