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Extension of Authority of Supreme Court Police to Protect Court Officials Off Supreme Court Grounds

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation which like others before us, demonstrates the Congressional power over the Supreme and federal courts in even the most mundane matters--in this case--security.

It is critical to the day-to-day functioning of the Supreme Court that Justices, Court employees, and visitors to the Court be provided with adequate and appropriate protection. The Supreme Court Police are charged with enforcing the law at the Supreme Court building and its grounds as well as protecting Justices and other court employees on and off the grounds. Congress has provided statutory authority for the Supreme Court Police to provide security beyond the Court building for Justices, Court employees and official visitors since 1982. Since 1986, Congress has extended this off-grounds authority seven times and recent events tend to demonstrate that this authority is as important as ever.

The authority is due to sunset on December 31, 2013 and the current authority and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Police is essential to the force's performance of its everyday duties. Supreme Court Police regularly provide security to Justices by transporting and accompanying them to official functions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and on occasion, outside the area when they or official guests travel on Court business. Threats to personal safety may require Justices to be accompanied by police between their home and the Court--and although incidents have been few--we must continue to be vigilant to any and all security matters.

I close by harking back to our Founders, the men who forged the underpinnings of this great nation. They had the vision and forethought to craft what is the world's most admired democracy, replete with the vaunted three branches of government. It is not perfect though, and in my role as a representative for the people of the 18th District of Texas, I humbly seek to make it better and the passage of this bipartisan legislation today moves us closer to working in harmony on other matters affecting the Judiciary--matters which the American people are asking us to do. I am certain that on that score we share the same values.

I urge my colleagues to Support this important legislation.

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