The New York Times buried news of a foiled assassination plot against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, placing its only article on the incident on page A20 of Thursday’s edition of the paper.
Nicholas John Roske, a 26-year-old Californian, traveled across the country to the justice’s home armed with a pistol, knife, and zip-ties among other weapons and told authorities that he intended to assassinate Kavanaugh.
Roske arrived in front of Kavanaugh’s home in a cab early Wednesday morning. After spotting two federal marshalls stationed in front of the house, he walked down a nearby street and eventually called the police on himself.
According to charging documents, Roske told police he was motivated by how he thought the justice might rule on gun and abortion cases before the Court, and was especially concerned by the leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which indicated that a majority of justices were prepared to do away with the precedent set in Roe v. Wade. He told authorities that killing Kavanaugh would “give his life purpose.”
Stories that did earn a spot on the front page of Thursday’s Times included a primer on the primetime January 6 committee hearing set for Thursday night and a piece on returning to office spaces to work after the Covid-19 pandemic. Even on page 20, the Kavanaugh story received short shrift, coming in below the headline “New York A.G. Set to Question Three Trumps Under Oath.”
The Kavanaugh headline does not acknowledge Roske’s stated intention to murder the justice, instead stating “Man With Pistol, Crowbar And Zip Ties Is Arrested Near Kavanaugh’s Home.”
The Times is not alone: USA Today did not include a single story on the assassination attempt in its print edition on Thursday and Politico Playbook also failed to mention the narrowly avoided assassination of a Supreme Court justice.
To its credit, the Washington Post did include a story on Kavanaugh on its front page, although its framing “Man arrested near justice’s home” was bereft of context.
In 2020, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that Justice Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would “reap the whirlwind” and “pay the price” if they were to vote to alter Supreme Court doctrine on abortion. It’s unclear what price Schumer was referring to, given the fact that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are not subject to political costs or voters’ whims.