WASHINGTON — The Senate on Monday passed bipartisan legislation that would extend security protections to immediate family members of Supreme Court justices amid heightened tensions over a forthcoming abortion ruling.
The bill, introduced last week by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, sailed through with unanimous support. The measure, known as the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, now heads to the House.
It would provide security similar to protections for family members of certain executive and legislative branch officials.
“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,” Cornyn said in a statement before the vote, citing “the events of the past week.”
Protesters have held demonstrations after Politico published a leaked draft opinion that indicated a majority of justices were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Over the weekend, protesters demonstrated outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. Another demonstration appeared to be scheduled for Monday night outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the leaked draft.
Tall fencing was erected near the Supreme Court last week as crowds gathered to protest on both sides of the abortion debate.
In a separate statement before Senate passage, Coons said the bill was an “unfortunate necessity” but one that was needed to address “extremes on both sides of the political spectrum.”
“Millions of Americans who tuned into … Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing couldn’t miss seeing her husband and daughter on national TV,” Coons said. “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.”
The Senate confirmed Jackson last month. She will succeed Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires at the end of the court’s term this summer.