As the nation braces for the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, sickening threats against the lives of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices are visible on social media for all to see.
“ok I will kill samuel alito I’m taking one for the team,” said one Twitter user on May 3, hours after Politico published a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito reversing the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. “I will actually kill everyone who voted.”
“[W]elp looks like it’s time to hit the ‘kill Samuel alito’ button that I have on my desk, seems like a good opportunity to get around to that,” said another.
“ok, so we either gotta expand the scotus to 15 judges or kill clarence thomas, whats it gonna be,” wrote a third, referencing the drive by some progressives to increase the number of justices, a practice known as court-packing.
The poisonous atmosphere surrounding the looming decision, which has included recent protests at justices’ homes, prompted the Department of Homeland Security to issue a memo last week warning of potential violence.
In the memo, which was published in full by the Washington Free Beacon Wednesday, DHS said the leak had “prompted a significant increase in violent threats,” adding that intelligence officials had identified “at least 25 violent threats on social media that were referred to for partner agencies for further investigation.
“Some of these threats,” the memo went on, “discussed burning down or storming the US Supreme Court and murdering Justices or their clerks, members of Congress and lawful demonstrators.”
“Historically, violent acts related to this issue were primarily committed by abortion-related violent extremists that opposed abortion rights,” added the memo, which was first reported by Axios. “Going forward, grievances related to restricting abortion access could fuel violence by pro-choice abortion-related violent extremists.”
The document specifically mentions a recent arson at the Wisconsin headquarters of an anti-abortion group where the culprits reportedly left graffiti that said, “If abortions aren’t safe [then] you aren’t either.”
DHS did not immediately respond to questions from The Post about whether it had identified anyone behind the threats, nor did the department say whether it was tracking any potential organized conspiracy against the high court.
A Twitter spokesperson didn’t respond to a message from The Post asking about why certain threatening posts remained visible weeks after they were published.
Hours after the memo was leaked to the media, the Justice Department confirmed that the US Marshals Service had been providing 24-hour protection at each justice’s home since last week.
“The rise of violence and unlawful threats of violence directed at those who serve the public is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland, who met Wednesday with the Supreme Court’s marshal, chief of police and other top law enforcement officials to go over possible additional steps.
“I want to be clear,” the AG added, “while people vote, argue, and debate in a democracy, we must not – we cannot – allow violence or unlawful threats of violence to permeate our national life. The Justice Department will not tolerate violence or threats of violence against judges or any other public servants at work, home, or any other location.”
A decision in the case that could overturn Roe and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is expected before the end of the court’s term in late June or early July.