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A man was arrested outside the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh early Wednesday morning after making threats against the justice.
The man was identified in a criminal complaint as Nicholas Roske, a 26-year-old Californian who was taken into custody without incident after calling 911 on himself. According to officials, Roske was carrying a suitcase and backpack that contained a tactical vest, knife, pistol, ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crow bar, pistol light, duct tape and hiking boots.
Roske was charged with attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice. According to the affidavit, Roske said he “began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill” Kavanaugh after finding his address on the internet.
“At approximately 1:50 a.m. today, a man was arrested near Justice Kavanaugh’s residence,” a Supreme Court spokesperson said in a statement early Wednesday. “The man was armed and made threats against Justice Kavanaugh. He was transported to Montgomery County Police 2nd District."
Kavanaugh’s home was the site of peaceful protests following a leaked opinion last month that would result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling protecting abortion rights. If the final ruling is in line with the draft, Kavanaugh is one of the justices voting to gut abortion access for millions of people around the country. The Senate quickly moved to pass funding for more security for the nine justices, who have lifetime appointments.
“House Democrats must pass this bill and they need to do it today. No more fiddling around with this, they need to pass it today,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday following the man's arrest. “Before the sun sets.”
When asked about the arrest at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “This kind of behavior is obviously behavior that we will not tolerate. Threats of violence and actual violence against justices of course strike at the heart of our democracy. And we do everything we can to prevent them and hold people who do them accountable.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Wednesday's briefing that President Biden “[condemned] the actions of this individual in the strongest terms.”
The Washington Post first reported that the man was angry about the leaked draft and “over a recent spate of mass shootings.” The Supreme Court is also expected to rule against a New York law making it more difficult to carry a gun outside the home — an expansion of the Second Amendment even as polling shows American wants stricter gun laws.
Kavanaugh was nominated to the bench by then-President Donald Trump in 2018 and was confirmed by a 50-48 margin in the Senate amid accusations of sexual misconduct when he was a teenager. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was a key vote in favor of Kavanaugh and claimed he would not overturn Roe.
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released last month found that confidence in the court had collapsed since September 2020, prior to when Trump and then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell rushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shifting the court to a 6-3 conservative alignment.