IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Supreme Court protection bill is an embarrassment, especially for Democrats

Right-wingers are trying to demonize abortion rights supporters — and Democrats are just going along with it.


The Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday to expand security protections to the families of Supreme Court justices

The bill marks an unusually bipartisan — and cowardly — response to recent nonviolent protests outside the homes of some justices, sparked by a leaked draft opinion that revealed the court will likely overturn abortion rights. It’s an embarrassment for all involved, and Democrats in particular should be ashamed. 

Over the weekend, abortion rights supporters protested outside the homes of several conservative justices, including Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito, author of the leaked opinion. Outrage over the demonstrations has largely been driven by conservative media and lawmakers desperately trying to distract from the substance of the leaked opinion, which would gut Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision guaranteeing abortion rights.

But what began as an obvious Republican deflection attempt has evolved into actual policy, thanks in large part to Democrats. 

The Supreme Court Police Parity Act that passed Monday would provide security to the immediate family members of justices, similar to protections offered to family members of certain officials in the executive and the legislative branches. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced the bill last week.

Demonstrators Protest Amid Leaked Supreme Court Draft To Overturn Roe V. Wade
Demonstrators stand with signs of Supreme Court justices during an abortion rights protest in New York on May 3.Stephanie Keith / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Coons on Monday called the bill an “unfortunate necessity” needed to respond to “extremes on both sides of the political spectrum.”

“Millions of Americans who tuned into ... Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing couldn’t miss seeing her husband and daughter on national TV,” he said. “If the families of Supreme Court justices have the same profile and exposure as the highest ranking officials in our government, they deserve the same level of protection.”

But try as he may to spin the bill as an urgent bipartisan issue, it seems obvious that Democrats are just succumbing to right-wing pressure — and providing more fodder for Republicans who tar progressive protests with unfounded claims of lawlessness. It’s also pretty gross for Coons to invoke Jackson’s name as a rationale for Democrats folding here.

If, as Coons suggests, there was a desperate need to enact this measure when we saw Jackson’s family during her confirmation hearings, then he and other Democrats would have enacted the measure then — you know, when her confirmation was actually happening.

The Biden administration has done its part to fan the flames of outrage toward those protesting in support of abortion rights, as well. The White House’s official response, referencing “violence” that hasn’t occurred, is a perfect example: 

All of this is particularly embarrassing to Democrats, who routinely — and justifiably — complain about conservative obstruction in Congress. Now, they're boasting about passing a performative bill that coddles right-wing justices — arguably the most oppressive forces in American society today. Not a good look.