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8 Jun, 2022 21:22

US Supreme Court justice targeted for assassination

An armed man has been charged for targeting Justice Brett Kavanaugh over abortion and gun control
US Supreme Court justice targeted for assassination

A man who told the police he was seeking to kill US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was arrested in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC on Wednesday. Nicholas Roske had a gun and other weapons in his bag and told police he targeted the conservative justice out of anger over the pending abortion ruling and the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Roske was spotted outside Kavanaugh’s house in Chevy Chase around 1am on Wednesday by two US Marshals guarding the property. He walked away but then called 911, telling the dispatcher he was feeling suicidal and had traveled from California to “give his life a purpose” by killing Kavanaugh, according to the sworn affidavit by FBI Special Agent Ian Montijo.

The 26-year-old was arrested around 1:50am by local police, while he was still on the phone. He offered no resistance. Police found in his possession a Glock 17 handgun with two loaded magazines, pepper spray, zip ties, and tools such as a crowbar, hammer, and screwdriver, among other things.

According to Montijo, he later told the police he was “upset about the leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision regarding the right to abortion, as well as the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.” He believed that Kavanaugh would “side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws.”

“Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the Internet. Roske further indicated that he had purchased the Glock pistol and other items for the purpose of breaking into the Justice’s residence and killing the Justice as well as himself,” Montijo’s affidavit added.

A Democrat activist group had posted the addresses of conservative-leaning Supreme Court justices online in early May, after Politico published a leaked draft of a decision that could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent establishing abortion as a constitutional right. Outraged abortion supporters picketed the court at first, and then the justices’ private homes.

Pressed to comment on the issue, the White House backed the protests but said they should “never include violence, threats, or vandalism.” Judges and justices “must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety,” Karine Jean-Pierre, then deputy press secretary, said on May 9.

On Wednesday, the White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden condemned the threat against Kavanaugh “in the strongest terms.”

In addition to the abortion precedent, the Supreme Court is currently reviewing a New York state firearms law. Decisions in both cases are expected later this month. Biden has demanded tougher gun control laws after last month’s massacre at the Uvalde, Texas elementary school that left two adults and 19 children dead. 

Reacting to the leaked draft, Biden urged Americans to elect more Democrats so abortion could be enshrined in law, rather than Supreme Court precedent. His party currently controls Congress, but does not have enough votes in the Senate to overcome Republican opposition. 

Kavanaugh is the second of three justices nominated by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, during his term. Democrats tried to derail his 2018 confirmation by accusing him of sexual improprieties when he was in high school, which they could not prove.