Protect Judges Before Tragedy Strikes

The left is targeting judges for harassment, and worse.

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Esther Salas is a federal judge in New Jersey who had to endure the worst tragedy imaginable because our judges are not protected. As the left targets Supreme Court justices, we must ensure their safety.

Salas: The Senate this week approved legislation to protect the families of Supreme Court Justices. The legislation, if passed by the House, would authorize the Supreme Court Marshal to protect the families of the Justices and not just the Justices themselves.

This step is necessary but not enough. Like all federal judges, the Justices’ home addresses and other personally identifiable information (“PII”) are available to the public on the internet, which makes us all vulnerable to attack and retribution.

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But while the House should swiftly pass this legislation, I don’t believe it goes far enough. All federal judges remain vulnerable and at risk. Like the Justices, we rule on the most serious and sensitive issues.

As federal judges we stand on the frontline protecting democracy and the rule of law. We live in daily danger of retribution. That information must be shielded, for all federal judges. The time has come for Congress to ensure our federal judiciary is protected.

I understand the importance of this issue through personal tragedy. Nearly two years ago, my only child, Daniel, was murdered at our New Jersey home by a disgruntled litigant.

On July 19, 2020, Daniel and I were chatting in our basement. It was a Sunday, and Daniel was still bubbling with happiness after enjoying a weekend of celebrating his 20th birthday with friends.

Then the doorbell rang. Daniel ran upstairs and, after opening the door, was shot in the chest by a gunman posing as a delivery man. My husband, Mark, was shot three times and nearly died.

This tragedy happened because the gunman, a lawyer, was angry about how I handled his case.

Easy access to my PII allowed him to act on that anger. The gunman had created a dossier on my life—he stalked my neighborhood, mapped my routes to work, and identified my friends and the church I attended—all by using my PII he found on the internet. Finding a judge’s PII is alarmingly easy.

Over the course of 21 months, I’ve urged Congress to pass legislation to protect a judge’s PII. Presently before Congress is the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, which was named after my son. The Act would prohibit the public disclosure of PII about federal judges and their immediate family.

In December, the Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, without opposition. A companion bill is pending in the House. Yet, despite its unopposed passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee, months have slipped away with no action by our nation’s leaders…

No judge should have to endure the nightmare and the lifetime of sorrow and pain that I now do. The time is now for our leaders to protect all federal judges by enacting the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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