Supreme Court justices meet for first time amid fallout from leaked abortion draft opinion

The conference came amid renewed controversy over the safety of judges.

Supreme Court justices convened Thursday for the first time since a draft opinion was explosively leaked showing the court’s conservative majority is set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The private conference is for judges only, no staff or helpers are allowed in the room.

The meeting came as abortion rights activists showed no signs of slowing down, gathering outside the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The protests, while peaceful, prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland – the nation’s top law enforcement official – to provide additional support to ensure the safety of the nine justices.

“Attorney General Garland continues to be briefed on security matters related to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Justices,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement Wednesday. The Attorney General has ordered the US Marshals Service to help provide security for the justices by providing additional support to the Supreme Court Marshal and Supreme Court Police. »

On Wednesday, additional height was installed on the already “unscalable” eight-foot-tall fence erected in front of the Supreme Court last week. The barrier was similar to the one placed around the US Capitol after the violence on January 6, 2021 and it comes ahead of a large-scale protest scheduled for Saturday.

The heightened security at the Supreme Court and for the justices comes as Republicans continue to ramp up protests, despite no reports of violence.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the White House will “not condemn harassment.”

McConnell also hit out at Garland for not doing more to enforce a law some say prohibits protesters from picketing or marching for the purpose of influencing a judge in a building or residence occupied or used by that judge. .

“You would think that a DOJ headed by the former DC Circuit Chief Judge would need no incentive, no incentive to protect judicial security and judicial independence. But at least so far, the attorney general was quicker to rush worried parents at school board meetings,” McConnell told the Senate. “The Governors of Maryland and Virginia had to write a joint letter to the Attorney General pleading with him to get his US attorneys to do their job and uphold the law.”

Maryland GOP Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin wrote to Garland on Wednesday asking the Justice Department to provide “appropriate resources to protect judges and enforce the law as it is written”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that the administration believes in peaceful protests and that “violence, threats and intimidation of any kind have no place in discourse.” Politics”.

But she also took aim at Republicans, saying those who criticized those protests were “silent for years about protests that took place outside the homes of school board members, Michigan’s secretary of state, or including threats to women seeking reproductive health care, or even an insurrection against our Capitol.

“I know there is outrage at the moment, I guess, about the protests which have been peaceful so far – and we certainly continue to encourage that – outside the houses of the judges,” added PSAKI. “And that’s the president’s position. But the silence is pretty deafening about all the other intimidation we’ve seen from a number of people.”

ABC News

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