WASHINGTON (AP) — A man armed with a machete once broke into Stephen Breyer’s vacation home in the Caribbean and took $1,000. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had her purse snatched on a Washington street. David Souter was assaulted by several men while he was jogging.
Supreme Court justices have not been immune to violent crime. But this past week’s late-night incident at Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s suburban Washington home, where authorities said a man armed with a gun and knife threatened to kill the justice, reflects a heightened level of potential danger not just for members of the nation’s highest court, but all judges.
Round-the-clock security given to the justices after the leak of the draft opinion in a major abortion case may well have averted a tragedy.
But the situation had much in common with other recent incidents that ended with the shooting death of a former judge in Wisconsin last week and the killing in 2020 of the son of a federal judge at their home in New Jersey. Troubled men, harboring a warped desire for vengeance and equipped with guns, turned their threats into action.
“We’re seeing these threats increase in number and intensity. That’s a sign. That’s a signal,” said U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, whose son was killed nearly two years ago in the attack that also wounded her husband.
Kavanaugh’s would-be attacker is Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, California, authorities said in charging him with the attempted murder of a justice. Clad in black, he arrived by taxi outside Kavanaugh’s Maryland home around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
He spotted two U.S. Marshals who were guarding the house and walked in the other direction, calling 911 to say he was having suicidal thoughts and also planned to kill Kavanaugh, according to court documents. Roske said he found the justice’s address on the internet.
When police searched a backpack and suitcase he was carrying, they said they found a Glock 17 pistol, ammunition, a knife, zip ties, duct tape and other items Roske said he was going to use to break into the house. He said he bought the gun to kill…