Nicholas John Roske, a US citizen, has been charged with assassinating Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Following his arrest near the house of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a California man Nicholas John Roske faces a charge of attempted murder. According to court filings, Nicholas John Roske, 26, wanted to kill a Supreme Court justice and was armed with a pistol and a tactical knife.

At around 01:00 a.m. local time, the suspect was apprehended (06:00 BST). The justices’ security has been ramped up ahead of a historic verdict on abortion rights in the United States. Mr Roske was noticed by two US Deputy Marshals while getting out of a taxi in front of a Supreme Court justice’s residence, according to an affidavit filed in US District Court. Mr Roske turned to stroll along the street, carrying a luggage and a bag.

Mr Roske, a man who introduced himself as Mr Roske, called local emergency services shortly after. Mr Roske claimed he was suicidal, had a rifle, and had travelled from California to “assassinate a specific United States Supreme Court justice.” Mr Roske was arrested by local police officers who were dispatched to the justice’s residence.

The Washington Post reports that Justice Kavanaugh and his family were at home when he was arrested. According to the affidavit, Mr Roske expressed his displeasure with the leaked Supreme Court document on abortion, as well as the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

He stated that he believed Justice Kavanaugh will rule in favor of loosening gun control rules. A Glock 17 pistol, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, crowbar, and duct tape were discovered in Mr Roske’s possession.

During a brief court appearance on Wednesday afternoon, he was asked a series of questions by the judge, including whether he was thinking clearly when he was apprehended. “I think I have a good comprehension,” he said, adding that he was a college graduate who had been using an unnamed medicine.

On the 22nd of June, he is scheduled to return to court. He faces a potential term of 20 years in federal prison if convicted of attempted murder of a federal judge, though real punishments for federal offences are typically less than the maximum penalties. President Biden “condemns” the acts of the person who threatened the legal system, according to a White House spokesman. A leaked draught ruling from the US Supreme Court signaled in May that it might overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established abortion access across the country.

Protests erupted across the country in response to the draught judgement, including some peaceful demonstrations outside the houses of several of the court’s nine justices. A group of roughly 100 individuals marched from Justice Kavanaugh’s home to Chief Justice John Roberts’ residence nearby last month. Both justices are conservatives who are thought to be in favor of restricting abortion rights.

As a result of the protests, Washington politicians introduced legislation in Congress that would strengthen Supreme Court justice protections. The bill has cleared the Senate, but the House of Representatives has yet to take it up. The final sticking issues, according to one Democratic senator participating in negotiations on the draught law, are over the scope of who will be protected. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, said CNN on Wednesday that other members of the Supreme Court who are not justices also deserve increased security.

According to the Department of Justice, the US Marshals Service has been providing “round-the-clock security” outside the homes of all nine justices since the draught opinion was leaked last month. Senate Republicans blamed Democratic rhetoric for the attempted attack on Wednesday.

Senator Chuck Schumer threatened Justice Kavanaugh and another Trump-nominated conservative justice in March 2020 that if they voted to repeal abortion rights, “you will pay the price” and “you won’t know what hit you.” The next day, Mr Schumer apologized and denied threatening the judges.

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