(NewsNation) — Protesters have gathered at several conservatives justices’ homes since May, when a leaked draft opinion signaled the nation’s highest court was planning to overturn Roe v. Wade.
These protests have continued since the ruling was officially announced in June.
Former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras said a security plan is needed to balance protesters’ right to free speech while also protecting the justices.
“They should not be impeding security,” she said. “You don’t know who’s in the crowd, either, right? Who are these people? You don’t know if anybody has any weapons, anybody has any ill intent.”
Protests of this capacity are rather unprecedented, Poumpouras pointed out, which is why there was some delay in putting this kind of security plan together.
One NewsNation viewer, Winston DuBose of Florida, had questions on security for the Supreme Court at such a contentious time.
Q: Are the Supreme Court justices going to get any type of protection at their homes or if they’re out in public?
“They are getting protection out around the clock when they travel, as well as when they are going to work and as well as at their homes,” Poumpouras said.
The D.C. Metro Police Department had a heavy presence around the Supreme Court itself in the days after the controversial ruling that removed federal abortion protections. Security for Supreme Court justices and their families also increased in the wake of a threat against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which a man was found carrying at least one weapon and threatening to kill the judge outside his home.
Recently, President Joe Biden signed into law S.4160, or the Supreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022, which allows the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police to protect immediate family members of justices or officers of the court.
Poumpouras said judges will also likely set up “command centers” or posts at their houses, where they can monitor traffic coming down the road and who is around their residences.
Q: Why doesn’t the Supreme Court receive the same kind of Secret Service protection as the president?
Poumpouras said that kind of protection can get pricey, and involves multiple shifts, travel and airfare.
“It is around the clock,” she said.
Poumpouras also pointed out the president of the United States is just one person, but there are nine Supreme Court justices.
“And then when does that protection stop?” she asked. “What about their wives, or their spouses or children? Where does that extension go? So you’re talking about millions upon millions upon millions of dollars per year, putting that in budget.”
To finance this kind of security, Poumpouras said taxpayers would shoulder most of the burden.