As threats against Supreme Court justices and other officials have increased, Chief Justice John Roberts thanked members of Congress and other court workers on Saturday for their assistance in ensuring judges’ safety.
“The law compels every judge to swear an oath to execute his or her work without fear or favor,” Roberts wrote in the introduction of an annual report on the federal judiciary. “But we must support judges by insuring their safety,” he added. “A judicial system cannot and should not operate under constant dread.”
Roberts praised Congressmen for “attending to judicial security issues” and thanked the many court employees who “are on duty as we ring in the new year, trying to guarantee that judges can sit in courtrooms to serve the public during the coming year and beyond.”
Following the high court’s divisive decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, security for Supreme Court justices came under particular scrutiny earlier this year. Protests were held outside the residences of several justices in response to the ruling and an earlier draft of the opinion that was leaked in May.
Early in June, when a man was detained outside of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s residence brandishing a gun and a knife, worries about the safety of the justices increased. He was later charged with attempted murder.
In response to the incident, Congress expanded security safeguards to include “any officer” of the bench as well as the family members of Supreme Court justices.
The Capitol Police recorded more than 9,000 threats against members in the previous year, but they have also seen an increase in the number of threats.
In late October, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband Paul Pelosi was subjected to a severe assault in their San Francisco home. He fractured his skull and sustained damage to his right arm and hands. According to reports, the 42-year-old man suspected of hitting Pelosi was seeking for the Speaker, who was present in Washington, D.C., at the time.