A May 13 memo from the Department of Homeland Security details ongoing investigations into threats to “burn down or storm” the Supreme Court building. Threats against the court arose last month after a draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked to the press. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down the ruling next month. Axios first reported on the memo.
The court’s conservative justices have already faced targeted protests outside their homes following the leak. The DHS memo reportedly says those protests “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling.”
The memo goes on to clarify that rhetoric supporting violent extremism does not itself constitute extremism.
“The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics does not constitute domestic violent extremism or illegal activity and is constitutionally protected,” the memo reportedly reads.
“DHS is committed to protecting Americans’ freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest,” a DHS spokesperson told Fox News. “DHS is also committed to working with our partners across every level of government and the private sector to share timely information and intelligence, prevent all forms of violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe.”
The Senate unanimously voted to beef up security for justices following last month’s leak. The legislation allows Supreme Court police to arrest individuals who interfere with the court’s ability to perform its duties, and also creates a criminal penalty for individuals who impede or obstruct those duties.
“Attempts to intimidate Supreme Court Justices by the Radical Left are sadly nothing new, but dangerous nonetheless,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement at the time. “We must protect the Justices and their families in case these protests do turn violent.”
The U.S. has already seen examples of pro-choice violence in the wake of the leak, with an unknown assailant throwing a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Wisconsin pro-life group in early May.