WASHINGTON — An armed man was arrested overnight near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he called 911 on himself, law enforcement officials said.
Officials say the man, described as being in his mid-20s, was armed with a handgun, a knife, pepper spray and burglary tools. He was stopped a block away from the justice’s house. And when police detained him, he said he was there to kill Kavanaugh, these officials say.
Officials said the man had called 911, and said during the call that he had homicidal thoughts, had traveled from California to attack the justice, and had a gun in his suitcase. He said the gun was unloaded and in a locked case.
The arrest was first reported by The Washington Post.
The court confirmed some of the details in a brief statement: “At approximately 1:50 am today, a man was arrested near Justice Kavanaugh’s residence. The man was armed and made threats against Justice Kavanaugh. He was transported to Montgomery County Police 2nd District.”
Officials said the man was from out of state and arrived by taxi.
Kavanaugh lives in suburban Chevy Chase, Maryland. His home was also the scene of protests after a draft of the court’s decision to apparently overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked last month.
Protesters chanted and held up signs in front of the homes of Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the leaked majority draft opinion that could overturn the landmark ruling. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has called for protesters demonstrating in front of justices’ homes to be arrested and prosecuted by the Justice Department, citing a federal law barring people from trying to intimidate or influence judges.
Some of Cotton’s Republican colleagues said that would violate the First Amendment, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said people peacefully protesting is “the American way.” Schumer added that people protest in front of his home in New York “three, four times a week.”
Asked by reporters last month if she was concerned about the protests outside of the judges’ homes, then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said any demonstrations should be peaceful. “Violence, threats, and intimidation have no place in political discourse,” PSAKI said.
The protests spurred security concerns that led the Senate to pass a bill to extend security protections to immediate family members of Supreme Court justices. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Wednesday he’d discussed the legislation with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., on Tuesday and that “I hope we’re close” to taking up the legislation.
Heated emotions over the leaked draft also led Supreme Court officials to erect tall fencing around the courthouse as crowds gathered to protest on both sides of the abortion debate.