These are the 27 House Democrats who opposed a bill expanding security for Supreme Court families
More than two dozen House Democrats voted against a bill on Tuesday that calls for expanding security protections to family members of Supreme Court justices.
The legislation, titled the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, passed the House in a 396-27 vote, with only Democrats opposing the measure. Three Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.
The bill cleared the Senate last month by unanimous consent, meaning all 100 members approved the measure, which allowed it to pass without a formal vote. The legislation now heads to President Biden’s desk for final approval.
The measure seeks to provide “around-the-clock security protection” to family members of Supreme Court justices and “any officer” who works for the bench if the court marshal believes it is necessary. Those protections are similar to the security provided to some officials in the executive and legislative branches.
A total of 27 Democrats voted “no” on the bill: Reps. Joyce Beatty (Ohio), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Jesús García (Ill.), Sylvia Garcia (Texas), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Steven Horsford (Nevada), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Tom Malinowski (N.J.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Donald Payne (N.J.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), Albio Sires (N.J.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Norma Torres (Calif.), Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.).
Seven of the Democrats who opposed the measure hail from New Jersey, the state where Daniel Anderl, the son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, was fatally shot in July 2020 by a man targeting the judge. Salas’s husband was also injured in the incident.
In a statement following the vote, Sherrill, Gottheimer, Watson Coleman, Sires, Pascrell and Malinowski said that while they “fully support expanding security for Supreme Court Justices and their families,” they believe the protections should also be extended to federal judges and their families who encounter similar threats.
“We stood alongside our friend Judge Esther Salas and voted no today because we could not support passing legislation that continues to ignore the pleas of all federal judges for greater security. Federal judges regularly face threats to their safety as well as their families due to their work to protect our communities and our democracy,” the group wrote.
“We believe that Congress had a strong opportunity to improve protections for all federal judges, but the Senate abdicated its responsibility when it ignored our calls for the inclusion of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in this bill,” the group added.
Grijalva told The Hill that he voted against the bill in-part to make a statement regarding the fact that it did not include protections for federal court systems. He noted, however, that protections for the Supreme Court are “absolutely” necessary.
Politico reported earlier on Tuesday that some Democrats were leaning toward opposing the measure because they wanted Escobar’s bill to bolster physical security and cybersecurity for health care providers.
Ocasio-Cortez told reporters that she voted against the bill as a call to action for gun and abortion legislation.
“I think it’s ridiculous that we have the political will and capacity to pass protections for ourselves so quickly, but for some reason when it comes to kids, people in grocery stores, anybody in a public place, that we somehow can’t get gun safety or we can’t even pass federal protections, to Veronica Escobar’s point, we can’t pass expanded security protections for federal workers who are providing health care and abortion care as well,” she said.
Passage of the bill came after a monthlong standoff between the House and Senate. House Democrats wanted to expand the Senate-passed bill — offering protections to Supreme Court staff if the court marshal determined it was needed — but Republicans in the upper chamber objected to such a move.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday warned that the expanded House version would not clear the Senate, telling reporters that “the security issue is related to Supreme Court justices, not nameless staff that no one knows.”
The House ultimately went ahead with the Senate version of the bill.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) brought up the bill to expand security protections last month, days after Politico published a draft Supreme Court majority opinion that showed the bench was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. The document, which Chief Justice John Roberts said was authentic, sparked protests nationwide.
This story was updated at 7:57 p.m.
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