FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court police officers stand on the front steps of the Supreme Court building prior to the official investiture ceremony for the court’s newest Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and the start of the court’s 2022-2023 term in
By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court is asking Congress to approve $5.9 million in new funds to bolster the protection of the nine justices following threats and protests that began after the May 2022 leak of a draft version of the blockbuster ruling ending the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion.
The proposed funding was included as part of a $9.1 billion budget request released on Thursday to fund the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary in the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the abortion ruling, said last October that the leak made him and his fellow justices “targets for assassination.”
The budget request includes the money to expand security activities by the Supreme Court police to protect the justices as part an overall request to boost discretionary spending on the nation’s top judicial body by 16% to $127.1 million. Separately, the court is seeking $6.5 million to improve physical security at its building.
The additional money to protect the justices would provide for “contract positions, eventually transitioning to full-time employees, that will augment capabilities of the Supreme Court police force and allow it to accomplish its protective mission.”
“Ongoing threat assessments show evolving risks that require continuous protection,” the judiciary said in the budget document.
Congress last year approved legislation to expand police protection to the families of the justices and senior officers of the court following the leak of the ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had legalized abortion nationwide.
The draft opinion and final ruling in June prompted protests outside the home of some justices and calls by Republican lawmakers for greater protection for members of a court with a 6-3 conservative majority. An armed California man was charged in June 2022 with attempted murder after being arrested near the home of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh.