Senator Bob Menendez’s attempt to pass the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, named for the son of U.S. District Court judge Esther Salas who was killed at the family’s home in 2020, was blocked for a second time today by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
“It is a sad moment that, by not supporting this bill today, judges and their family members around the country will continue to be at risk from those who would do them harm,” Menendez said on the floor after the bill was blocked. “In one breath, my Republican colleagues will wax eloquent about the need to protect family members of Supreme Court justices, but in the next, they will block passage of a common sense, bipartisan bill that will help achieve that goal for the entire federal bench.”
Paul blocked a previous version of the bill in December 2020. In both cases, Menendez had attempted to get the bill passed on unanimous consent, which allows the Senate to act quickly on bills but can be halted by any single senator objecting.
As he did in 2020, the Kentucky senator explained today that he supported the outline of the bill, but wanted protections to be included for members of Congress as well.
The tragedy prompting the bill happened in July 2020, when an antifeminist extremist with a case assigned to Salas went to her family home and opened fire, severely wounding Salas’ husband Mark and killing her son Daniel. The bill named in Daniel’s honor would limit the sharing of federal judges’ personal information and increase funding for the U.S. Marshals Service.
“No federal judge should ever have to live fearing that their commitment to serving the public could make their family a target,” Senator Cory Booker said when the bill was reintroduced last July. “Last year, our state grieved alongside Judge Salas and her husband following the tragic murder of their son Daniel. Now, it’s time for congressional action to prevent such a horror from ever happening again.”
In New Jersey, a state-level version of Daniel’s Law already exists; it was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in November 2020.