U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen) and Cory Booker are in the process of drafting a bill that would make private federal judges’ personal information and introduce a host of other security measures for members of the judiciary following the attempted assassination of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas.
Two weeks ago, Roy Den Hollander, an anti-feminist lawyer who had a case assigned to Salas, fatally shot the judge’s 20-year-old son. Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, was critically wounded in the attack at their home.
“No parent should have to go through the devastating tragedy she has, and I have a personal commitment to Judge Salas, which I have begun to work on already with Sen. Booker, to seek legislative solutions so that the personal information of federal judges is not in the public domain,” Menendez said. “There’s no good reason for it, as well as a host of other critical security issues we need to consider.”
New Jersey’s senior senator said he has already spoken to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about the matter.
Salas made a plea for such protections in a video released Monday morning.
“We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down,” she said.
Aside from the obvious safety concerns, Menendez warned that attacks — or the threat thereof — on federal judges could imperil the judiciary’s independence.
“A federal judge has to worry that his or her decisions, at the end of the day, could cause a loss of life of a loved one, and I’m not sure how that full independence, even with one works hard to maintain it, can ever be achieved without worrying in the backs of their mind,” he said.