The Supreme Court wants to maintain its enhanced security detail after overturning Roe v. Wade, but data shows that overall threats against the judiciary decreased last year, report says
- The Supreme Court is looking to enhance its security for the justices after last year's unrest over Roe v. Wade.
- Per The Intercept, the detail working to safeguard the justices hasn't seen a major increase in threats this year.
After last year's leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, groups of demonstrators took to the streets near the homes of conservative justices, distraught that nearly 50 years of precedent on abortion rights was in jeopardy.
The earliest set of protests had been monitored by federal agents, and as the crowds grew and frustrations mounted, the Supreme Court sought a higher level of protection given the stakes and the "concerning communications" driven by the highly volatile issue.
And after last year's unrest — with Roe eventually being overturned in June 2022 — the court is now looking to maintain its heightened level of security next year and for the foreseeable future, according to The Intercept.
Last year, the Supreme Court asked for millions of dollars in added security, with the US Marshals stepping in to provide enhanced protection to the justices.
Per documents reviewed by The Intercept, the security detail working to ensure the safety of the justices hasn't seen a major increase in the level of threats this year. However, the Supreme Court is now seeking additional security agents to buttress their existing line of defense.
The leak prompted additional security
Many lawmakers called for heightened security for justices after the leak, which was accelerated last June after Nicholas John Roske was arrested outside of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home with a tactical knife, a gun, zip ties and a crowbar. (Roske was charged with attempting to kill Kavanaugh and has since pled not guilty.)
Congress quickly passed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, which afforded the Marshal of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court Police the authority to protect the immediate family members of any chief justice or associate justice.
But other than the incident involving Roske, there have been no other attempts to cause harm to a justice. And there have been no arrests of protestors.
According to the US Marshals Service FY 2022 Annual Report, the number of "inappropriate communications" or threats to the overall judiciary was 3,706 in fiscal year 2022, compared to 4,511 in fiscal year 2021.
However, Marshals in the report detailed the "24-hour online threat screening coverage for the SCOTUS, all justices and their residences" and the "real-time online research" that was put into place after last year's threats.
And the Marshals this year asked for an extra $21 million to fund 46 new positions — which includes additional 42 Marshals — to further enhance the security for judges in the next fiscal year.
SCOTUS has a massive security detail
According to The Intercept, the Supreme Court now includes 400 US Marshals as part of the Supreme Court Special Security Officer Program.
And the US Marshals budget request cited Roe as the reasoning for the added security.
"The SCOTUS contacted the [US Marshals Service] to request assistance in securing their facility. As a result of the recent leak of the Dobbs decision, the Marshal of the Supreme Court increased security of the Supreme Court facility, which included adding additional security posts and Special Security Officers to provide this enhanced level of on-site monitoring and presence of officers," the report read.
But no specific threats are cited in the report to show why the additional money is needed, according to The Intercept's report.
And the Supreme Court in March also asked for an additional $5.8 million to buttress the Supreme Court Police.
"Ongoing threat assessments show evolving risks that require continuous protection," the court said in its request. "Additional funding would provide for contract positions, eventually transitioning to full-time employees, that will augment capabilities of the Supreme Court police force and allow it to accomplish its protective mission."