Republicans McCarthy and McConnell slammed Democrats for blocking a bill to expand Supreme Court security.
House Democrats on Wednesday again pushed off the consideration of Senate-approved legislation that would offer additional protection to Supreme Court justices – just a day after man was charged with attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Tuesday made a unanimous consent request to bring the legislation that would increase security for justices to the House floor for consideration on Tuesday and again on Wednesday, after the arrest and charging of 26-year-old Nicholas Roske, who allegedly intended to carry out a murder-suicide plot against Kavanaugh at his Maryland home.
The Senate, last month, unanimously passed a bill amid protests at justices’ homes following the leak of a draft opinion indicating the high court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.
House Democrats want to expand the Supreme Court measure to include security for other court employees. But it has remained stagnant as the Supreme Court marches toward the end of its term.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said there will be a vote on the legislation, but that it will be delayed “until at least next week.”
McCarthy, on the House floor Thursday, slammed Democrats for wanting to leave Washington and take a long weekend without bringing up the measure for consideration.
“How many times do they have to be threatened? How many people have to be arrested with a gun outside their home? What would have happened had he not called 911. He didn’t just have a gun… he had zip ties. But, somehow, you want to leave,” McCarthy said. “This bill could be on the president’s desk right now.”
McCarthy pointed to comments made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in 2020, in which he said Kavanaugh would “pay the price.”
“Let’s not forget what Majority Leader Schumer screaming on the steps of the Supreme Court. What did he say? Madam Speaker, I want you to listen to these words, and I want you to think about these words,” McCarthy said.
“What do you think the American public would think Schumer was telling him to do? He said, ‘You will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.'”
McCarthy said he didn’t “know if that young man yesterday with that gun and zip ties that was at the home of Justice Kavanaugh, if he listened to this, and that’s why he went.”
“I don’t know. But I do know that is wrong,” he said. “I do know we can change that. I do know we can protect them.”
Schumer later walked back some of those comments and claimed the words “didn’t come out the way I intended to,” attempting to explain that his point was that there would be political consequences if the Supreme Court “stripped away a woman’s right to choose.”
But McCarthy on Thursday stressed that should the bill be offered for consideration, “every single Republican” would vote in favor of its passage.
“I promise you this. Every single Republican on this side would give unanimous consent to pass that and send it to the president and protect the Supreme Court,” McCarthy said. “Enough is enough.”
He added: “I know the Democrats want to defund the police. I know what they want to do across this country, but this is wrong. This is pure politics. And it’s got to stop with that, Madam Speaker.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also slammed Democrats for blocking the bill’s consideration, calling it a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
“Why won’t Speaker Pelosi stop blocking a bipartisan security bill that passed the Senate unanimously?” McConnell said, “It is hard to avoid concluding that perhaps some Democrats may want this dangerous climate hanging over the justices’ heads as they finish the term.”
He added: “A disgraceful dereliction of duty. This is antithetical to the rule of law.”
As for Pelosi, D-Calif., she claimed justices are “protected” and argued that the bill should include protection for Supreme Court staff as well.
“The justices are protected,” Pelosi said Thursday during a press conference. “They are working together on the bill that the Senate will be able to approve of because – we can pass whatever we want to – we want it to be able to pass the Senate.”
She added: “I don’t know what you’re talking about… there will be a bill, but nobody is in danger over the weekend because of our not having a bill,” Pelosi alleged.
The arrest of heavily armed Roske came hours before the Supreme Court revealed Wednesday that it has not ruled in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, prolonging the wait for its opinion, which is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion.