Cornyn Decries House Democrats for Holding Up Extra Security Detail for Justices

Cornyn Decries House Democrats for Holding Up Extra Security Detail for Justices
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 11, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is calling on House Democrats to stop making “unnecessary” changes to a bill that would grant extra security to Supreme Court (SCOTUS) justices, saying that there is “a sense of urgency” to pass the bill amid escalating protests.

According to a draft opinion leaked by Politico on May 2, which Chief Justice John Roberts has since indicated is real, SCOTUS may be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion of the court. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The possible repeal of the seminal 1973 abortion case, which has defined federal law on abortion for the past half-century, sent pro-abortion advocates into a flurry of activity online and on Capitol Hill.

Since then, abortion advocates have leaked the home addresses of SCOTUS justices to the public and have staged protests outside their homes, prompting concern for the safety of the justices.

The protests, some have argued, are directly in contravention of U.S. law.

Under 18 U.S. Code § 1507, protesting outside the homes of those involved in the judicial process “with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty,” is liable to incur fines or prison time.

However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not been actively enforcing this law and has not responded to a request by The Epoch Times for comment on the legal issue.

With no action from the DOJ to ensure the safety of the justices, Sens. Cornyn and Chris Coons (D-Del.) cosponsored and introduced bipartisan legislation to increase the security detail for justices.

“Millions of Americans who tuned into Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing couldn’t miss seeing her husband and daughter on national TV,” Coons said of the bill. “If the families of Supreme Court Justices have the same profile and exposure as the highest ranking officials in our government, they deserve the same level of protection. We must take threats that come from extremes on both sides of the political spectrum against Supreme Court Justices seriously, and that makes this bill an unfortunate necessity.”

“The events of the past week have intensified the focus on Supreme Court Justices’ families, who are unfortunately facing threats to their safety in today’s increasingly polarized political climate,” said Cornyn. “We must act to ensure Justices and their families are protected from those who wish to cause them harm by extending Supreme Court police security to family members.”

Though the measure quickly breezed through the Senate in a bipartisan vote, it has been held up in the House due to Democrats’ demands for additional provisions, which Cornyn has called “unnecessary.”

Cornyn cited one effort to extend the increased security detail to law clerks.

“Now the House wants to do things like add law clerks and other staff to this, which is really unnecessary because virtually all the law clerks are anonymous,” he said. “They’re not highly visible or recognizable like the justices are, so they’re unlikely to need that kind of protection. Plus, our staff here even in Congress is not provided that sort of protection.”

Cornyn called the efforts to stall the bill “a case of people trying to take something that is a good bill that can pass quickly and make it more complicated and to delay its ultimate consideration.”

Cornyn also suggested that some Democrats are worried about “alienating” or “irritating” their pro-abortion base, further stalling the bill’s progress.

“Sometimes you just have to rise above your partisan interests and do what’s important,” Cornyn said.

“While they’re at the Supreme Court, the justices are pretty well protected, but two of the justices have school-aged children,” Cornyn said. “They leave to go to the court where they’re protected and their children are left at home or school and are vulnerable to threats or intimidation. When Justice Jackson takes over for Justice Breyer, it'll go from two justices with families to three.”

Cornyn said that he expects that the bill to ultimately pass, but called on House Democrats to show a “sense of urgency” in passing the bill.