Attorney General Merrick Garland orders more security protections for Supreme Court justices following protests outside their homes

Demonstrators gather outside the house of US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 9, 2022.hoto by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
  • AG Merrick Garland ordered more security protections to Supreme Court justices.

  • Garland directed the US Marshal Service to provide support to the Supreme Court police.

  • The move comes following protests outside of the Supreme Court and the justices' homes.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday directed the US Marshal Service to provide additional security protections to Supreme Court justices, the Department of Justice announced.

The move comes following protests outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC and the justices' homes in neighboring Virginia and Maryland over the past week in response to a leaked draft opinion that suggests the court may throw out abortion rights.

"Attorney General Garland continues to be briefed on security matters related to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Justices. The Attorney General directed the U.S. Marshals Service to help ensure the Justices' safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police," DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement.

The leaked draft opinion, published by Politico on May 2, has triggered immense public outrage over the possible end to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the opinion, wrote that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and it must be overruled, along with a subsequent 1992 abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The opinion is not final and the court is expected to hand down its decision on the case this summer.

But abortion-rights advocates have sounded the alarm over the court's conservative majority potentially eliminating Roe, with many gathering to demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court and the justices' homes. Protestors convened outside of the homes of Alito, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts within the past week.

Several congressional Democrats and Republicans have condemned the protests and called for further security protections for the justices. The Senate on Monday swiftly passed bipartisan legislation that would provide additional safety to the justices' families.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, both Republicans, sent a letter to Garland on Wednesday, calling on the attorney general to "provide appropriate resources to safeguard the Justices and enforce the law as it is written."

The governors pointed to a 1950 federal statute that declares it illegal to picket or parade "in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer."

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