EDITORIAL: Assassinating the conservative Supreme Court

This week the unthinkable happened. While obsessing over the leaked Supreme Court draft Dobbs v. Jackson opinion and the recent Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, an armed 26-year-old California man dressed in black took a taxi in the middle of the night to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s home residence in Maryland.

Fortunately, Nicholas John Roske was spotted by two U.S. marshals guarding the home, a turn of events that ostensibly sent him hiking up the street where he called 911 to confess he was armed, having “suicidal thoughts” and aiming to kill Justice Kavanaugh. Montgomery County Police detained Mr. Roske who quickly confessed he had a plan to assassinate the conservative jurist, which he called “his life purpose.” 

When searching his backpack and suitcase, police found a small arsenal consisting of a Glock 17, two magazines, ammunition, a tactical police vest, a tactical knife, pepper spray and zip ties. He was charged with attempted murder, more specifically attempting to kill or kidnap a U.S. judge. If it weren’t for the two U.S. marshals guarding Mr. Kavanaugh’s house, this story may have ended in a fatal tragedy for the Supreme Court justice and his family. 

This incident marks a watershed moment that crystallizes the fact our nation’s highest jurists are in grave danger. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rightly called out House Democrats for not passing legislation that would give Supreme Court justices and their families the same around the same clock protection afforded to members of Congress and White House officials. 

The bill’s sponsors, Sens. John Cornyn and Chris Coons introduced the SCOTUS security bill only three days after the draft Dobbs decision was published by POLITICO on May 2. The Senate passed the bill unanimously 100-0 on May 9, but now, a month later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is still unsure whether his chamber will pass the critical life-saving legislation. “I hope we’re close,” he said. Mr. McConnell says that’s unacceptable. 

“House Democrats have spent months blocking, blocking the measure … related to security for Supreme Court justices,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. “The House Democrats have refused to take it up.” He also reminded his colleagues of some of the less responsible comments Democrats have made since the Dobbs draft opinion leak, attributing some blame to them for the Kavanaugh incident. 

“This is where we are … an assassination attempt against a sitting justice or something close to it,” he said. “This is exactly the kind of event that many worried that the unhinged, reckless, apocalyptic rhetoric from prominent figures toward the court, going back many months, and especially in recent weeks, could make more likely.”

Let’s revisit some of those comments: In March Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer came under fire for publicly admonishing conservative justices, saying, “You have unleashed the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” He later rescinded the comments, assuring the public he was not issuing a threat, but the mere fact he felt the need to do that speaks volumes about the impact he knew it could have. 

When Fox News’ Peter Doocy raised the point that some liberal activists had posted maps of Supreme Court justice’s homes online, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki dodged the issue and said, “The reason people are protesting is because women across the country are worried about their fundamental rights.” In a separate press conference, she said President Biden actually supported the notion of protesters showing up at the justices’ homes. “I know that there is an outrage … about protests that have been peaceful to date and we certainly encourage that outside of judges’ homes,” she said.

Hours after Mr. Roske was charged with attempted murder, the pro-abortion group “Ruth Sent Us” tweeted a “special message” to Justice Kavanaugh’s wife and children. The tweet called Mr. Kavanaugh an “alcoholic” while bizarrely denying the group had been the ones to send Mr. Roske to their home — since no one had already asked. 

“A special message for Ashley Kavanaugh and your daughter—this billboard was on your school grounds. We feel for you. @LeaderMcConnell and the GOP aren’t worried about your safety. They worry only for the expensive Supreme Court they rigged, and their own power,” the tweet read. 

Mr. McConnell could not be more correct. The time for debate and Washington rhetoric has long since passed. Our nation’s jurists and their families’ lives are in imminent danger, and the SCOTUS security bill must be passed today. Under the circumstances, any further delay to protect our jurists, their spouses and their children is tantamount to aiding and abetting crimes of violence, and potentially murder.

It’s time for Congress to act. Lives depend on it. 

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