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Senate passes bill to give police protection to families of Supreme Court justices

FILE - Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left and his wife Virginia Thomas, right, leave the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington after attending funeral services of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, on Feb. 20, 2016. Virginia Thomas sent weeks of text messages imploring White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to act to overturn the 2020 presidential election — furthering then-President Donald Trump's lies that the free and fair vote was marred by nonexistent fraud, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
FILE - Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left and his wife Virginia Thomas, right, leave the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington after attending funeral services of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, on Feb. 20, 2016. Virginia Thomas sent weeks of text messages imploring White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to act to overturn the 2020 presidential election — furthering then-President Donald Trump's lies that the free and fair vote was marred by nonexistent fraud, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

A bill to grant security for the families of U.S. Supreme Court justices unanimously passed the Senate Monday.

The Supreme Court Police Parity Act would provide police protection to the immediate families of the nine justices and other officers of the court, if the "Marshal determines such protection is necessary," the legislation says.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, will now go before the House of Representatives.

"Threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families are disgraceful, and attempts to intimidate and influence the independence of our judiciary cannot be tolerated," Cornyn said in a statement.

The bill follows a leak last week of a draft Supreme Court opinion that, if unchanged, would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that federally legalized abortions.

A protest and vigil against the move was organized at Justice Samuel Alito's house Monday.

"Because it's been impossible to reach him at the Supreme Court (especially now with the enormous fences), we will do it at his home," said the event's organizer, ShutDownDC.

The Supreme Court Police Parity Act is an amendment of existing legislation that provides police protection to the justices.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.