Threats to Kavanaugh

Citing a leaked Supreme Court abortion decision, a man plotted to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sparking an intense partisan blame game.

Rachel Zelicof
Leans Left
Jonathan Good
Leans Left
Stephen Webber
Leans Right

On Wednesday, a California man armed with a handgun traveled to Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He planned to assassinate Kavanaugh but was detained by authorities. Montgomery County Police found the suspect near Kavanaugh’s residence. Initially, the suspect told law enforcement that he was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm in his possession. The suspect said in an affidavit that he opposed the “expected rulings curtailing abortion access and an expansion of gun rights,” fueling an intense blame game from the Left and Right.

Impacts of the Suspect’s Actions

Suspect Faces Repercussions. The suspect is being charged with attempting to kidnap and kill a U.S. judge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The suspect’s next court hearing will be on June 22, 2022. 

The Social Media War. This incident has sparked controversy on social media platforms like Twitter. Unsurprisingly, Republicans and Democrats each seem to think the other side is to blame. Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) expressed her views on Twitter by saying, “The left always unleashes violence.” American musician Mikel Jollet fired back at conservatives, referring to Justice Kavanaugh in his Tweet, “How about we tell him to hide behind a door like every 3rd grader in America” in reference to the Uvalde shooting.

White House Response

Biden Condemns Suspect’s Actions. White House Spokesman Andrew Bates said that President Biden “was appreciative of the law enforcement which took the suspect into custody.” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “Biden is in support of legislation that would increase home security for justices” and condemned the incident. 

Legislation for Increased Security. Since last month, there has been an increase in security at Supreme Court Justices’ homes, according to Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD). Prior to this incident, pro-choice supporters held rowdy protests outside justice Kavanaugh’s home by abortion-rights supporters. Recently, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) co-sponsored a bill to implement more security for Supreme court Justices. Cornyn pleaded with Pelosi “to keep Congress in session until the bill passed.”

An Increase in Violent Threats

Draft of Roe v. Wade Being Overturned. Protests and dismay among American citizens increased as an opinion draft was leaked from the Supreme Court. In May 2022, about 100 protestors demonstrated outside the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh. The suspect cited this draft opinion as one of the primary motivators for his attempted assassination.

Left Narrative

The threat to Justice Kavanaugh is reprehensible, and we should condemn it in the strongest possible terms. While we must continue to fight to protect abortion rights as they face a hostile majority on the Supreme Court, political violence is unacceptable and presents a dangerous threat to our democracy. Additionally, right-wing media’s attempts to pin responsibility for this attack on Democrats is a disgusting weaponization of this incident for political advantage.

Left-Lean Narrative

Right-Lean Narrative

Right Narrative

This incident doesn’t come as shock for many people just after pro-life centers were bombed in Buffalo and Madison, WI.  The House Democrats have revealed their concerns for the January 6 riot, but not for this incident. Now, Pelosi has stalled a bill that would give Supreme Court justices more security outside their homes, stating a lack of threat. It is time for Democrats to take responsibility for their rhetoric and condemn this violence.

Questions & Answers

Reading Comprehension

Have your students take a reading comprehension quiz to see how well they understood the article and different opinions.

Launch Activity

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the best way to protect Supreme Court justices from gun violence?
  2. Do you think Senator Cornyn’s legislation would prevent incidents like this from happening again? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think the response to this incident would be different if a Republican had threatened a Left-leaning Justice? Explain your view.
  4. Is it important to provide the same type of security for schools? Why or why not?
  5. Should the Supreme Court publish its official ruling on Roe v. Wade now to avoid future violence?

Current Events in this story

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Accompanying Content

Mother Jones
The Assassination Plot Against Brett Kavanaugh Is a National Emergency

Jeremy Schulman argues that the attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh is representative of a broader trend toward more political violence in the United States, arguing it is unacceptable in all forms and presents a grave threat to the country.

Jun 8, 2022
Conservatives Blame Left for Inciting Violence Like Plot to Kill Kavanaugh

Following the apparent attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh, conservatives argued the Left is responsible for the plot.

Jun 8, 2022
Leans Left
New York Post (Opinion)
Time for Joe Biden to be the Great Uniter he promised to be

In response to the attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh, legislation was proposed to provide home security for Sumpreme Court justices. House Democrats have yet to convey their approval for the bill.

Jun 8, 2022
Newsmax (Opinion)
Ex-FBI Agent: The attempted murder of Kavanaugh is bigger than you think

Newsmax argues that the attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh is directly linked to a mental health crisis and activists sharing Supreme Court justices’ addresses.

Jun 9, 2022
Man charged for attempted murder of Justice Kavanaugh

Axios covers the attempted murder of Justice Kavanaugh, legislation relating to Supreme Court justices’ security, and the potential for future violence.

Jun 8, 2022

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