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The Supreme Court could issue a ruling on abortion as soon as Monday, which would be days after a memo leaked from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveals the Biden administration is preparing for a nationwide wave of violence following the decision on the future of Roe v. Wade.
A leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito signaling the high court plans to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade sparked pro-choice protests nationwide and an uptick in violence. Protesters have targeted the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices and vandals have targeted at least five pro-life crisis pregnancy centers across the U.S. and Catholic churches have been threatened and vandalized.
Additionally, a memo dated May 13 from DHS reveals that the Biden administration is investigating threats to the Supreme Court building and to justices in the weeks since the leak. The memo first reported by Axios details ongoing investigations into threats to “burn down or storm” the Supreme Court building.
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Anna Johnson)
In addition, the DHS memo reportedly says the protests outside conservative justices’ homes “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling.”
“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 DHS memo goes on to clarify that rhetoric supporting violent extremism does not itself constitute extremism.
Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Monday, May 16, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
“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.
The Supreme Court issues opinions on Mondays at 10 a.m. ET, so the next opportunity to hand down a decision in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center, would be on May 23.
As the court reaches the end of its term, usually by the end of June or first week in July, sometimes it adds additional dates to release opinions with a few days notice in advance. Historically, decisions in more closely watched cases are issued in the last weeks of the term immediately before the justices adjourn for the summer months.
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen through a fence with a “Closed Area” sign in Washington, May 11, 2022. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
However, a large fence has been built around the Supreme Court in recent weeks and additional security measures around the building have been implemented in order to secure the area around the high court.
Separately, the Senate unanimously voted to beef up security for justices following last month’s leak. The legislation, called the “Supreme Court Police Parity Act,” 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.
However, legislation has been stalled in the House as some Democrats claim that bill does not go far enough in offering protections and have called for additional protections for law clerks and other staff members at the Supreme Court.
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the day. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seemingly expressed opposition to providing protection for justices and their families, insisting that law enforcement officials should be the ones to determine whether the threats they receive warrant a response.
“I think that any need for protection should relate to whatever threat that is there,” Pelosi said. “And that’s a judgment that is made by our law enforcement.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told Fox News on Thursday that he believes House Democrats shouldn’t “hold up” the process of advancing the Senate-passed measure.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris and David Spunt contributed to this report.