By Guy Page
Ericka Redic, a candidate for Congress, says a new law to protect Supreme Court justices and their families shouldn’t be necessary – instead, existing law should be enforced.
“While I understand the need for and support added security during these unprecedented times, I’m not sure it would be necessary if our current laws were actually being enforced,” Redic, a Burlington Republican, said. “It is illegal to demonstrate outside of any Judge’s home, yet protestors have been allowed to harass Justices and their families. The law is in place specifically to prevent the public from trying to intimidate and influence the Judge’s decision.
“Do you want to live in a country where the mob can intimidate the Judge in your case to change his or her mind? I don’t,” Redic said. “We must restore the integrity of all our courts and the rule of law so people can trust the system. That’s why public safety, including judicial integrity is a top priority for my campaign.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a prominent endorser of Democratic State Sen. Becca Balint’s run for Congress, for her “no” vote on a bill to protect Supreme Court justices and their family.
Jayapal is a leader in the House progressive caucus. On June 15, the Balint campaign published a press release proclaiming Jayapal’s support for Balint. “We are at a crucial moment in time for our democracy. As our rights to choose, to vote, and to love who we love are all being threatened, we need bold leaders in Congress unafraid to step up to fight for the rights of working people,” said Jayapal. “Becca Balint is a fearless leader driven by her values and commitment to Vermonters. She has led the way on affordable housing, gun violence prevention, and reproductive freedom in the state.
On June 14, all but 27 members of the U.S. House voted to approve S4160. According to Congress.gov, “This bill grants the Marshal of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court Police the authority to protect any member of the immediate family of the Chief Justice, any Associate Justice, or any officer of the Supreme Court if the Marshal determines that such protection is necessary.”
This bill was approved by the Senate in mid-May.
Rep. Peter Welch was among the majority of Representatives of both major parties supporting the bill. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), who a day later endorsed Sen. Balint, was among the 27 House members to vote no.
Fellow GOP Congressional candidates Liam Madden and Anya Tynio approached the problem from a different perspective than Jayapal or Redic.
“No. I would have voted differently,” Madden – retired U.S. Marine – said. “Why? Because we don’t want the Supreme Court’s decisions influenced by intimidation.”
Tynio answered: “I disagree with her vote. In order to make judicial decisions free from intimidation and distraction we need to ensure the protection of the Justices, court employees and their families. It is extremely disappointing that any member of Congress would vote against protecting innocent people from violence.”
Neither Balint nor Gray have responded. Vermont Daily Chronicle welcomes their responses – and those of any other U.S. House candidates – for future publication.