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Family of US Supreme Court justices to get security

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Police stand guard as abortion rights activists protest near the house of US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on September 13, 2021./AFP
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Jun 15, 2022 - 06:26 AM

WASHINGTON — US lawmakers passed legislation on Tuesday to provide security to family members of Supreme Court  justices, a week after an armed man threatened a conservative member of the bench near his home.

The Supreme Court Police Parity Act, cleared the House of Representatives in a 396-27 vote, with only Democrats objecting to the measure, a month after it was approved by the Senate.

“An armed and dangerous man planned to assassinate Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh. Today, we are sending a clear message to left-wing radicals: you cannot intimidate Supreme Court justices,” Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House Republican minority, tweeted.

The justices themselves already receive security details, and a number of executive and congressional officials also enjoy protection for their families.

Democrats in the lower chamber had initially demanded legislation that covered Supreme Court clerks and other staff.

But Senate Republicans rejected that proposal, arguing that they weren’t targets, and the Democrats ultimately decided to accept the Senate version.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature.

The upper chamber introduced the bill after a leaked draft opinion showed the court was prepared to overturn a landmark decision providing a federal guarantee of the right to abortion, provoking nationwide protests.

Some groups marched in front of the conservative justices’ homes in the Washington area, where additional security had already been brought in.

Last week, a man infuriated by the leaked draft decision, as well as a looming ruling that could loosen gun controls, was arrested near Justice Kavanaugh’s home and charged with attempted murder.

“Violence is never appropriate in our country,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“Which is why I would hope that we can now come together to make that clear by ensuring that all who serve in positions of public trust can do so safely and with the reassurance that their families are protected as well.”

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