President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation that boosts security for family members of U.S. Supreme Court justices.
The legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
It passed the Senate by unanimous consent last month, and was approved in the House last week in a 396-27 vote.
“This bill grants the Marshal of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court Police the authority to protect any member of the immediate family of the Chief Justice, any Associate Justice, or any officer of the Supreme Court if the Marshal determines that such protection is necessary,” the legislation’s official summary reads.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, a Cornyn spokesperson further explained what the bill does.
“Previously, the protection followed the justice, so, for example, if the justice traveled from their home to the court, their family at home was no longer protected. This extends that protection to their families,” the spokesperson said.
The bill passed the Senate soon after the leak of a majority draft from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a so-called constitutional right to an abortion.
In the wake of the leak, liberal protesters have demonstrated in front of the homes of justices nominated to the court by Republican presidents.
Biden signed the new law, meanwhile, “eight days after a man carrying a gun, knife and zip ties was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house after threatening to kill the justice,” according to The Associated Press.
A grand jury indicted the suspect in that case on Wednesday.
“The suspect, 26-year-old Nicholas Roske, was allegedly motivated by his anger that Kavanaugh might help overturn Roe v. Wade,” the Examiner reported.
Passage of the legislation to increase security for family members of Supreme Court justices did not come without controversy.
“Before the bill passed in the House on Tuesday in a 396-27 vote, Republicans accused some lawmakers across the aisle of stalling the legislation. Democrats who sat on the bill for nearly a month sought to include protection for clerks if deemed necessary,” the Examiner reported.