Senate approves police protection for SCOTUS families rattled by protests

Police officer outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito
(Image credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate voted on Monday to grant police protection to the families of Supreme Court justices, who have faced protests outside their homes after a leaked draft decision enraged abortion rights activists, NPR reported.

The Supreme Court Police Parity Act, which was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), passed the Senate by unanimous consent and will now go before the House of Representatives.

The bill empowers the Supreme Court Police — at the direction of the chief justice and the Marshal of the Supreme Court — to provide protection to "any member of the immediate family of the Chief Justice, any Associate Justice, or any officer of the Supreme Court if the Marshal determines such protection is necessary."

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Existing federal law allows the Supreme Court Police to protect justices, officers, guests, and employees of the Supreme Court, but not their families.

On Monday night, around 100 demonstrators protested in front of the Alexandria home of Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the opinion. Protests have also sprung up in front of the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

It is a federal crime to protest in front of a court or a judge's home with the intent of influencing the court's decision. It is not, however, illegal to protest outside a judge's home for other reasons, such as expressing outrage.

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