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After a Weekend of Entirely Peaceful Protests, Senate Passes a Bill Increasing Security for Supreme Court Justices

Turns out Congress can work fast when they're protecting their own.

Abortion rights protesters march holding a banner reading "Repro freedom for all"

Usually, waiting for Congress to pass meaningful legislation is an infuriating test of patience. But lawmakers just showed us how quickly they can act when they want to do so. They also reminded us that the only time they seem to want to act is when they’re protecting themselves, not us.

The Senate just passed a bill by unanimous consent that would expand security protection for Supreme Court Justices and their families. The bill, which will now go to the House, was introduced last week after a draft of the court’s opinion overturning Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey was leaked. It passed Monday night after a weekend of peaceful protests across the country, at the Supreme Court, and at the homes of some of the conservative justices.

Those protests at justices’ homes set off another exhausting round of debate over “civility” from people who claim to support the right to protest, but only if it doesn’t make anyone too uncomfortable or inconvenienced.

Mitch McConnell has claimed that the protesters who rallied outside justice’s homes were “trying to scare federal judges” and others, like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, accused Democrats of “embracing mob violence.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned “threats of violence” that are purely hypothetical because they have not actually happened, at least not as part of these protests, which were entirely peaceful. In fact, the protest outside Brett Kavanaugh’s home was organized at least in part by one of his own neighbors, according to the Washington Post.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that Joe Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that 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.”

Again, there was no violence during these protests! There were no threats, and if the mere presence of protesters outside a person’s home constitutes a “threat,” well, the Supreme Court has never had a problem with that until now, until it was their homes.

I also haven’t seen any reports of “vandalism,” unless you count this chalk message outside Susan Collins’ home, which I definitely do not!

Even if you believe that Supreme Court Justices and their families should have increased protection, the timing of this bill as a direct response to valid, legal, peaceful protests, and the speed with which it passed the Senate, in combination with false claims and suggestions that the protesters are engaging in violence, is a slap in the face to everyone filled with fear and rage over the court’s decision to rob half the population of their reproductive freedoms.

If only Democrats would work this hard to protect us.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.