GORDON: Time To Move Supreme Court Justices Onto Military Bases

REUTERS/Amira Karaoud

J. D. Gordon Former Pentagon Spokesman, George W. Bush Administration
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The escalation of political violence in America requires fresh thinking to preserve the rule of law and protect our basic freedoms. 

If it wasn’t bad enough that Antifa/BLM riots torched cities across the country in 2020, causing up to $2 billion in damage, and then the Capitol Riot in 2021 physically sent Congress scrambling, now the Supreme Court is in danger since the leak last month of a draft opinion which would overturn Roe v. Wade after 49 years. 

A bedrock principle of any functioning democracy is an independent judiciary with a reasonable expectation of safety and security for judges and their families.   

Yet such norms are crumbling — even if they’ve generally held since 1789 when the Supreme Court was established.    

On Wednesday, June 8, Montgomery County, Maryland, police arrested a California man in his mid-20s reportedly with a gun, a knife, pepper spray and burglary tools nearby the residence of Justice Brett Kavanaugh at around 1:45 a.m. He allegedly arrived by taxi. Once caught, he reportedly told authorities about planning to assassinate Kavanaugh. 

And last month, pro-abortion mobs descended upon the homes of three Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices – Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in Maryland, and Justice Samuel Alito in Virginia. Videos of the Alito protesters posted on Twitter show individuals apparently clad in Antifa-black bloc, the leftist paramilitary quasi-uniform worn by those seen trashing U.S. cities in 2020.   

Despite clear violations of federal and state laws, including against intimidation of judges and picketing in front of private residences, it seems there were no consequences. State police in Maryland and Virginia didn’t even appear to impede their movements. 

Predictably, the lack of a meaningful response leads to escalation. The overheated political rhetoric in legacy news outlets and social media can tip unstable people into violence. 

While Americans are rightly cheering the Montgomery County Police, relying on community tips and alert police officers in the middle of the night for protecting one of the country’s most important institutions isn’t nearly sufficient.    

Perhaps it’s time to consider moving Supreme Court Justices onto military bases. Sure beats turning their residential neighborhoods into armed camps. Or leaving them too vulnerable, even with beefed up personal security details now under discussion in Congress. 

Within just a few miles of the Roberts, Kavanaugh and Alito residences are military installations with safe housing for families – including those of senior officers whose quarters would be suitable for SCOTUS. The Washington, D.C. metro area is home to half-a-dozen such bases with armed guards at the gates – offering a safer option to protect the high court than police patrols and community hotlines. 

If our nation protects our top admirals and generals by housing them on military bases, why not afford the same level of security to Supreme Court Justices who are arguably under much greater threat nowadays? 

Moving them onto bases would also ensure the federal government shares more direct responsibility with state and local officials. It would lessen the burden on governors in Maryland and Virginia who appeared reluctant for state police to risk engaging potentially violent activists, especially considering how one-sided corporate media coverage was of “mostly peaceful” protests in 2020.  

Ironically, while the political left demonizes a “conservative” Supreme Court majority of 6-3, the court’s track record suggests only two reliably fit that description — Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. In reality, it’s in the center of a country moving left. All three Trump appointees, including Justice Kavanaugh, aren’t shy about siding with the liberals — as does Chief Justice Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee. The liberals don’t typically reciprocate. 

It seems new justices aren’t immune to societal changes sweeping America. Moreover, the nightmare of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings and Democrat threats to “pack the court” by increasing the number of liberal justices certainly don’t help either. Overturning Roe v. Wade seems like a one-off, albeit a big one.   

One can only imagine how intense political violence and intimidation would be if President Trump had nominated three judges like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon. Senate Republicans were in the majority during his presidency and could have confirmed them all. Had that happened, the high court would likely have challenged and reigned in states which were busily changing the rules for elections throughout 2020 instead of sitting on the sidelines.  

And while Justice Scalia was a proud conservative, he and the similarly proud late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were famous for getting along famously — even if they usually disagreed on policy. Until that spirit of collegiality becomes fashionable again in Washington, from the Supreme Court on down, we must better protect all the justices and their families.  

Mob rule like Paris of the 1790s is no way to run a country. Let’s give our Supreme Court the safety it deserves. 

J.D. Gordon is a former National Security & Foreign Policy Advisor to Republican leaders Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee and Herman Cain.  Previously, he served as a Pentagon spokesman during the George W. Bush Administration and is a retired Navy Commander.