EXCLUSIVE: Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn is calling on House Democrats to stop stalling and act with a sense of "urgency" to pass legislation he introduced to beef up security protections for Supreme Court justices amid ongoing protests outside their homes.
Dubbed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, the measure was introduced by Cornyn and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., amid ongoing protests following a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court which signaled federal protections for abortion granted under Roe v. Wade could soon be overturned.
The measure would provide Supreme Court justices and members of their family with around-the-clock security protection. The legislation also allows Supreme Court police to arrest individuals who interfere with the court's ability to perform its duties, and creates a criminal penalty for individuals who impede or obstruct those duties.
While the bill successfully passed in a unanimous vote through the Senate, Democratic leadership in the House has yet to bring the measure to the floor for a vote.
Speaking Thursday evening to Fox Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos Digital about the stalled progress of the legislation, Cornyn said the House is trying to make "unnecessary" additions to the measure to include protections for law clerks and other Supreme Court staff members.
"Now the House wants to do things like add law clerks and other staff to this, which is really unnecessary because virtually all the law clerks are anonymous," he said. "They're not highly visible or recognizable like the justices are, so they're unlikely to need that kind of protection. Plus, our staff here even in Congress is not provided that sort of protection."
Cornyn said he believes the stall in progress on the measure from House Democrats is "just a case of people trying to take something that is a good bill that can pass quickly and make it more complicated and to delay its ultimate consideration."
Referencing remarks made by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday, Cornyn said he believes there is a "universal agreement" that those who threaten or carry out violence against the justices should be held accountable.
Asked whether he believes progressives within the Democratic Party will support the measure, Cornyn said he believes they will and insisted this should not be about partisanship.
The Texas senator also expressed his concern over some members of Congress who "are worried about alienating" or "irritating" those who are protesting outside the justice's homes by voting in favor of the measure. "Sometimes you just have to rise above your partisan interests and do what's important," he said.
"While they're at the Supreme Court, the justices are pretty well protected, but two of the justices have school-aged children," Cornyn said, stressing the need for a successful passage in the House. "They leave to go to the court where they're protected and their children are left at home or school and are vulnerable to threats or intimidation. When Justice Jackson takes over for Justice Breyer, it'll go from two justices with families to three."
Cornyn said there is a "sense of urgency" to act on this measure because the protests are taking place now.
"Congress can't afford to try to do something six months from now — it'll be too late," he said. "I think we would all regret if something happened because Congress did not act on a timely basis to provide this protection."
Pro-abortion activist groups have been protesting outside the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito and others for several days. Several protesters have been associated with the pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us.
House Democratic leadership did not immediately respond to Fox Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos' request for comment.
Fox Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos' Anders Hagstrom contributed to this article.