Politics

U.S. Marshals providing 'around-the-clock security' at Supreme Court justices' homes, DOJ says

Key Points
  • The U.S. Marshals Service is providing "around-the-clock security" at the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices, the Department of Justice said.
  • Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the USMS to accelerate its efforts to protect the justices' homes, the Justice Department said in a press release.
  • Those efforts came after the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion that shows the high court poised to strike down the constitutional protections for abortion that have been in place for nearly 50 years.
Police stand outside the home of U.S. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh as abortion-rights advocates protest on May 11, 2022 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

The U.S. Marshals Service has been providing "around-the-clock security" at the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices since last week, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the USMS to accelerate its efforts to protect the justices' homes, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Those efforts came after the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion that shows the high court poised to strike down the constitutional protections for abortion that have been in place for nearly 50 years. The leak set off waves of protests, with some activists gathering outside the homes of some of the conservative justices.

Garland on Wednesday afternoon met with DOJ and Supreme Court officials to "discuss the security needs of Justices and the Court since the unauthorized release of a draft Court opinion," the press release said.

In addition to the security measures at the justices' homes, attendees at the meeting also discussed ways to collaborate and provide technical support "as it relates to judicial security," the DOJ said.

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"The rise of violence and unlawful threats of violence directed at those who serve the public is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy," Garland said in the press release.

"I want to be clear: while people vote, argue, and debate in a democracy, we must not – we cannot – allow violence or unlawful threats of violence to permeate our national life. The Justice Department will not tolerate violence or threats of violence against judges or any other public servants at work, home, or any other location," said Garland, who himself was once a nominee to the high court.

Garland was joined in Wednesday's meeting by USMS Director Ronald Davis, FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate, U.S. Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley, Supreme Court Police Chief Paul Coleman, and Counselor to the Chief Justice Jeff Minear, according to the DOJ.

Chief Justice John Roberts had ordered Curley to investigate the leak. Roberts noted that the first draft, penned by conservative Justice Samuel Alito and reportedly circulated in February, does not represent a final decision in the case.

A final opinion in the abortion case is expected to come out close to the end of the court's term in late June or early July.