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FIRST ON FOX – The Justice Department defended its actions to protect Supreme Court justices’ safety in a letter to the governors of Maryland and Virginia the same day an armed man was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home.
The letter, dated June 8, is from Acting Assistant Attorney General Peter Hyun. It responds to a May 11 letter GOP Govs. Larry Hogan and Glenn Youngkin sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding the Justice Department (DOJ) do more to protect the justices.
The six GOP-appointed members of the court were at the time and still are facing protests at their homes after Politico published a leaked draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“The Department is committed to taking all appropriate actions to enhance the security of the Justices and the Court,” DOJ’s response from Hyun said.
That response came the same day that a California man was arrested close to Kavanaugh’s Maryland home, apparently intending to assassinate the justice. That man, Nicholas John Roske, was indicted Wednesday for allegedly attempting to murder Kavanaugh.
Roske was arrested at Kavanaugh’s residence early in the morning of June 8, allegedly in possession of a firearm, two loaded magazines and additional rounds of ammunition, according to a DOJ press release.
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The governors’ May 11 letter further demanded that the department prosecute protesters for allegedly violating a law that bans picketing in front of federal judges’ homes to influence a case.
“On May 18, 2022, the Attorney General convened Supreme Court and Department law enforcement officials to discuss the security needs of the justices,” the DOJ letter also said. “This meeting follows the Department’s May 11, 2022, announcement that the Attorney General had directed the U.S. Marshal’s Service to ensure the Justices’ safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police.”
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The letter adds that the Marshals Service is continuing to protect justices, and that the DOJ is sharing information with other agencies on their security.
The DOJ letter also refuses to discuss concerns by many that protests in front of the justices’ homes may violate federal law.
“Your letter also suggests that some individuals may have violated federal criminal law. We appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter,” the Justice Department letter continues. “Longstanding policy and practice of the Department prevent us from discussing this information with you further or confirming or denying the initiation or existence of any investigation.”
The letter adds: “Please do not interpret this acknowledgment as confirmation or denial of an investigation of the matters described in your letter.”
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The DOJ has not apparently taken any public steps to investigate or arrest protesters outside the justices’ homes, despite growing public pressure to do so.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. Hogan’s office said that the governor still wants the federal government to step up its defense of the justices.
“The outrageous threats against the Justices and their neighbors are exactly why the Governor is continuing to call for the federal government to step up in enforcing the law and ensuring their security,” Hogan communications director Mike Ricci said. “The stakes are simply too high for anything less.”
Fox News’ Bill Mears and Firdausa Stover contributed to this report.