(NewsNation) — A vote is expected next week in Washington on expanding security protection for Supreme Court justices.
That legislation unanimously passed the Senate last month after the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn the landmark abortion access case Roe v. Wade sparked protests outside some justices’ homes.
The vote comes on the heels of a recent threat against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
For fiscal year 2023, the federal courts — including the Supreme Court — have requested more than $785 million for security needs.
A 911 call shows how close one suspect was to his alleged target when police say he threatened to kill Kavanaugh.
“I took a taxi from the airport,” the caller told dispatchers. “It dropped me off at his address. I’m just around the corner from it.”
The threat to Kavanaugh’s life underscored the security environment for all nine justices as the House is set to take up a bill next week that would expand that protection to their immediate families.
Gabe Roth runs Fix the Court, a nonpartisan Supreme Court watchdog group, and has compiled records about the cost of Supreme Court security.
“These are all very reasonable costs in the grand scheme of things to ensure that justices are protected,” Roth said. “Hopefully, their family members and judicial staff, frankly, should be included in that as well.”
The court allocates funds for justice protection through its Supreme Court Police, who protect justices and employees in court.
The U.S. Marshals Service’s Security Division also is responsible for the high court judges’ security outside the building. At the judges’ homes, that security is 24/7.
The threat against Kavanaugh happened amid recent threats and protests outside some justices’ homes as the nation awaits upcoming decisions about the future of Roe v. Wade.
“We know that that heightened level of scrutiny towards the court is going to put them under more intense pressure,” Roth said.
Extending protection to the justice’s families could cost millions, he said .