New Jersey’s Congressional Dem Representatives want better protection for Supreme Court Justices and their families, but argued the protections must be extended to more members of the federal bench.
“We fully support expanding security for Supreme Court Justices and their families. We also firmly believe that those expanded protections should apply to federal judges and their families, who face similar threats, with less protective resources,” said the representatives in a joint statement.
The delegation, including Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Josh Gottheimer, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, and Tom Malinowski, all voted no on the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, arguing the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act would better protect all federal judges.
“We believe that Congress had a strong opportunity to improve protections for all federal judges, but the Senate abdicated its responsibility when it ignored our calls for the inclusion of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in this bill. We will not give up fighting for the necessary safeguards our federal judiciary deserves,” they wrote.
The lawmakers’ preferred legislation, the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, was named after the son of federal Judge Esther Salas, who was killed after the judge was targeted via personal information available online at her New Jersey home.
Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act
“Tragically, too often these threats are followed by actual violence. On July 19, 2020, a man who had appeared before Judge Esther Salas in her court came to her door dressed as a FedEx delivery man. He found her address with an easy online search,” the wrote. “Her only child, 20-year-old Daniel, answered the door of her home and was shot 3 times and killed. Her husband was shot and is still recovering,” they added.
Gottheimer noted in a television appearance that federal judges faced more that 4,500 violent threats last year with “this week’s bill offered no protections for all federal judges. The far-right in the Senate blocked that provision. I simply couldn’t support it.”
The bill is currently stalled in Congress, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) arguing that the provisions should be extended to all members of Congress, as well.
Issues in the Senate
“I urge Congress to follow the committee’s lead and ensure that judges can perform their duties without fear, for themselves or their families,” said Judge Salas after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill in December 2021.
Sen. Cory Booker, who sponsored and co-authored the bill, pledged to keep up the fight after Sen. Bob Menendez’s attempt to unanimously pass the bill failed due to Paul’s objections.
“We believe that Congress had a strong opportunity to improve protections for all federal judges, but the Senate abdicated its responsibility when it ignored our calls for the inclusion of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in this bill. We will not give up fighting for the necessary safeguards our federal judiciary deserves.”
“We stood alongside our friend Judge Esther Salas and voted no today because we could not support passing legislation that continues to ignore the pleas of all federal judges for greater security. Federal judges regularly face threats to their safety as well as their families due to their work to protect our communities and our democracy,” they concluded.