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Funding mostly absent from Supreme Court security discussion

Aidan Quigley, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

There’s no companion House bill to Hagerty’s legislation.

Top Senate GOP appropriator Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said he isn’t sure if additional Supreme Court security funding is needed, and that Hagerty’s bill ought to go through the regular committee process.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is working with the court and Hagerty’s office to determine any immediate needs, a Republican committee aide said.

Split responsibilities

Typically, the Supreme Court Police are tasked with protecting justices while in the District of Columbia, while the U.S. Marshals Service provides security outside of Washington when requested. Garland’s new directive adds some of the marshals’ muscle now to help protect justices’ homes.

Supreme Court Police funding is included in the “salaries and expenses” total for the Supreme Court. In fiscal 2022, $98.3 million was allocated for the salaries and expenses account, with $107.2 million requested for fiscal 2023. Out of that 9 percent proposed increase, $2.9 million is for police radio equipment, security cameras, and “building and grounds access control.”

 

Gabe Roth, executive director for Fix the Court, an advocacy group, said he hopes the high court is considering recent threats against the newest justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, as it weighs its security needs.

“I saw the Supreme Court’s budget proposal … and there was no request for increased security, which I found a bit troubling given that this is the first time that they have a black woman on the Supreme Court,” he said. “And we already know there have been threats against her, largely in part due to the bad faith attacks that were made against her.”

The Supreme Court didn’t respond to requests for comment.

House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, said if the Supreme Court asked for more appropriations for security for fiscal 2023, she would support it. But appropriators have not yet heard that from the court, she said.

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