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U.S. Marshals providing security at Supreme Court justices’ homes

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Police stand outside the house 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” on 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 speed up its efforts to guard the justices’ homes, the Justice Department said in a press release.

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

Garland on Wednesday afternoon met with DOJ and Supreme Court officials to “discuss the safety needs of Justices and the Court because the unauthorized release of a draft Court opinion,” the press release said.

Along with the safety measures on the justices’ homes, attendees on the meeting also discussed ways to collaborate and supply technical support “because it pertains to judicial security,” the DOJ said.

“The rise of violence and illegal threats of violence directed at those that serve the general public is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy,” Garland said within the press release.

“I need to be clear: while people vote, argue, and debate in a democracy, we must not – we cannot – allow violence or illegal threats of violence to permeate our national life. The Justice Department is not going to tolerate violence or threats of violence against judges or some other public servants at work, home, or some 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, in response to the DOJ.

Chief Justice John Roberts had ordered Curley to investigate the leak. Roberts noted that the primary draft, penned by conservative Justice Samuel Alito and reportedly circulated in February, doesn’t represent a final decision within the case.

A final opinion within the abortion case is predicted to come back out near the tip of the court’s term in late June or early July.

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