The head of the Department of Homeland Security announced Sunday that there is a “heightened threat environment” in the aftermath of recent Supreme Court decisions that were handed down.
“We have seen a heightened threat environment … over the last several months over a number of different volatile issues that galvanize people on different sides of each issue,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS News on Sunday. “We in the Department of Homeland Security become involved when there’s a connectivity between the- the opposition to a particular view or an ideology of hate, a false narrative, and violence.”
His department is “very mindful that the Supreme Court’s decision in reversing and overturning Roe v. Wade has really heightened the threat environment and we have deployed resources to ensure the safety and security of the Supreme Court and the justices,” Mayorkas added. “We do not condone violence and law enforcement will and has responded to acts of violence when people do not honor their freedom to protest peacefully, but instead violate the laws of our country and the states within it.”
Threats to Safety
Last month, police in Maryland arrested a 26-year-old California man outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home who allegedly told law enforcement that he was planning to kill the justice because he believed Kavanaugh would side with a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. In late June, the Supreme Court did just that and struck down the 1973 decision that claimed women have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
Protesters have gathered outside justices’ homes in Maryland and Virginia in recent weeks after a draft of the Roe decision was leaked to the press. Federal law stipulates that it is illegal to pressure a judge into issuing a certain ruling or interfering with their work.
The Supreme Court’s marshal issued a request to the governors of Virginia and Maryland, asking for more law enforcement resources to deal with the protests and threats against the justices.
“You recently stated that you were ‘deeply concerned’ that ‘hundreds of demonstrators have recently chosen to picket Supreme Court Justices at their homes in … Maryland,’” Gail Curley, the marshal to the court, wrote in a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “Since then, protest activity at the Justices’ homes, as well as threatening activity, has only increased.”
Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci, in response, wrote that Garland needs to enforce the existing laws around protests. A spokesperson for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also called on Garland to act.
“A month later, hours after an assassination attempt on Justice Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice finally responded, declining to enforce the laws,” Ricci wrote.