West News Wire: The substantial barrier that had surrounded the US Supreme Court for months has been taken down.
On Monday morning, the non-scalable fencing was gone, and the steps and plaza in front of the high court were simply blocked off by tiny barricades.
Patricia McCabe, a court spokesperson, would only confirm that the fence was torn down over the weekend. According to court protocol, McCabe stated in an email, “the Court does not discuss security arrangements.”
The structure, which was shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is still off-limits to the general public.
The fence had been put in place in May, as demonstrations broke out in front of the Supreme Court and outside some justices’ residences after a leaked opinion suggested the justices were considering overturning Roe v. Wade.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets outside the court in June after the court handed down its ruling, overturning a landmark case making abortion legal throughout the United States nearly 50 years ago.
The justices also faced increasing threats. A California man was arrested in June near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh carrying a gun, knife and pepper spray after telling police he was planning to kill the justice.
The fencing that had been installed outside the court was similar to the fence put up for months around the U.S. Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building.
Protests at the court have waned in recent weeks. Still, law enforcement officials have warned about the potential for attacks on police, judges and government buildings after the FBI searched Trump’s estate in Florida as part of an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified records.
While the court building has been closed to the public since March 2020, the justices heard arguments in-person for the past year, but only reporters, lawyers and court employees could attend.