A bill to protect federal judges and their families from threats and attacks has advanced to the full Senate, and a U.S. district judge from New Jersey, whose son was slain by an angry litigant, urged Congress to pass the legislation without delay.
The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, named for the late son of Judge Esther Salas, was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier today by a 22-0 vote with one senator voting present.
“My husband and I thank the Judiciary Committee from our hearts,” Salas said. “Daniel’s death showed tragically that threats against federal judges are real, and they have dire consequences. I urge Congress to follow the committee’s lead and ensure that judges can perform their duties without fear, for themselves or their families.”
Daniel Anderl was fatally shot in July 2020, and Salas’s husband Mark Anderl was gravely wounded, when a disgruntled litigant came to the family’s door posing as a deliveryman. The gunman found the judge’s personal information on the internet. Daniel, a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., had just turned 20.
The bipartisan bill (pdf) would protect judges’ personally identifiable information from resale by data brokers. It would also allow federal judges to redact personal information displayed on federal government internet sites and prevent publication of personal information by other businesses and individuals where there is no legitimate news media or other public interest.
“Threats against judges continue to rise,” Salas said. “I know first-hand this is a matter of life and death, and for the sake of my fellow judges and their families, Congress must not wait any longer. Congress must act now. Every day that goes by without action leaves our federal judges and their families, our justice system, and our very democracy in danger.”