U.S. Marshals assisting in security of Supreme Court after leak of draft abortion opinion

The marshal of the Supreme Court is being assisted by the U.S. Marshals — the law enforcement arm dedicated to protecting the nation’s highest court — in protecting the justices since last week’s leak of a draft opinion suggesting landmark abortion law Roe v. Wade would be overturned

“The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has a strong partnership with the Supreme Court Police, and upon the request of the Marshal of the Supreme Court, the USMS does provide assistance as needed,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement. “The USMS is currently assisting the Marshal of the Supreme Court in response to increased security concerns stemming from the unauthorized release of the draft opinion; however, the USMS does not comment on specific security measures.” 

CBS News has obtained multiple state law enforcement bulletins and analysis reflecting increased vigilance since the leak. While they don’t cite specific or credible threats of violence, some offer early warning indicators or calls for violence that had already been posted before the leak. 

Last week, Politico published a draft opinion from February suggesting a majority of justices supported overturning Roe v. Wade, and Chief Justice John Roberts later confirmed the draft opinion was genuine. Final opinions, which are issued in June, can differ from draft opinions.

Supreme Court Abortion
An abortion-rights protester places portraits of some of the U.S Supreme Court judges during a demonstration outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Washington. 

Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP


Since then, there have been abortions rights protests nationwide, and demonstrations have been held outside the homes of Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A protest is planned Monday night outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the draft. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned those protests, saying “trying to scare federal judges into ruling a certain way is far outside the bounds of First Amendment speech.”

The Senate on Monday passed by unanimous consent a bill that would expand security protection to the immediate family members of Supreme Court justices. The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas last week.

“Threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families are disgraceful, and attempts to intimidate and influence the independence of our judiciary cannot be tolerated,” Cornyn said in a statement.  “I’m glad the Senate quickly approved this measure to extend Supreme Court police protection to family members, and the House must take up and pass it immediately.” 

The bill still needs to be approved by the House before it would head to president’s desk for his signature.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Monday that while President Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest,” those protests should never include “violence, threats, or vandalism.”

“Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety,” Psaki wrote.   

Catherine Herridge, Matthew Mosk and Nicole Sganga contributed to this report. 





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