D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said Thursday she will introduce legislation that will prohibit the Supreme Court from installing permanent fencing around its grounds.
Earlier this week, Supreme Court personnel removed the temporary anti-climbing fence surrounding the area. The fencing was installed a few months ago in response to the demonstrations surrounding the high court’s deliberations and decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the case which led to abortions becoming legal.
Previously, Norton urged the Supreme Court marshal not to leave the temporary fencing up longer than necessary.
“Public property should be open to the public,” she said. “The distance between government and the people has grown, with trust in the government, including the Supreme Court, low. We should not entrench that distance further by placing intimidating barriers between ourselves as public servants and the people we serve. There are also more effective, less obtrusive security solutions than archaic fencing. Moreover, the Supreme Court is in a residential neighborhood in the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court grounds are widely used by both D.C. residents and visitors.”
Norton said she is unaware of plans to have the fencing remain permanently. Nevertheless, she said temporary measures often become permanent “and this bill will signal congressional opposition to any such effort.”
Norton’s opposition to fencing around federal buildings is not new. Last year, she introduced a bill prohibiting the installation of permanent fencing at the U.S. Capitol complex.