Man charged with attempted murder of Supreme Court justice

Supreme Court U.S. Capitol viewed through the columns of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. | Shutterstock

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday charged 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske of Simi Valley, California, with attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice in violation of federal law.

Signed by FBI special agent Ian Montijo, the complaint lists Roske’s offense under “Attempts to kidnap or murder, or threatens to assault, kidnap or murder a United States Judge, to wit: a current Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”

The news comes after a Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed that an armed man was arrested after threatening Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

According to an affidavit accompanying the complaint, two U.S. deputy marshals “saw an individual dressed in black clothing and carrying a black backpack and a suitcase, get out of a taxicab that had stopped in front of the Montgomery County, Maryland residence of a current Justice” early Wednesday, at 1:05 a.m.

That suitcase and backpack held a tactical chest rig and tactical knife, a Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crow bar, pistol light, duct tape, and hiking boots, among other items, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, Roske later said that he purchased the pistol, along with other items, with the intent to kill the justice and himself.

Roske said he found the justice’s address online, the affidavit says.

The affidavit adds that Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center received a call from someone who identified as Nicholas John Roske. This person revealed to the center that he was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm, according to the affidavit, and told the caller that he traveled from California to kill a specific Supreme Court justice.

Police then found Roske, while he was still on the telephone with the emergency communications center, and took him into custody, the affidavit reads.

Roske later revealed to a detective his motives, the affidavit says: He was “upset about the leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision regarding the right to abortion as well as the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas.”

While a criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt, Roske faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison if convicted, a press release by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland, read.

Roske had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Wednesday, a report by a local ABC affiliate and the Associated Press read. Roske will remain in jail and waived his bond appearance, the outlet said. 

According to ABC reporter Beatrice Peterson, Roske will remain in custody until preliminary hearing scheduled for June 22.

The Washington Post broke the news of the alleged attack against Kavanaugh Wednesday morning through anonymous sources. 

In recent weeks, pro-life pregnancy centers and churches have been vandalized multiple times following the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion in May indicating that justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The court is expected to release the official opinion or decision in that case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at the end of June or beginning of July.

This is a developing story.

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