Court Battles

Federal judge says ‘nothing is being done to protect us’

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Federal Judge Esther Salas of New Jersey, whose son was killed in a retaliatory attack in 2020 by a man angry at the handling of his case, said Tuesday that “nothing is being done to protect” federal judges.

Salas, the first Hispanic woman to serve as a United States magistrate judge in New Jersey, told Fox News that as Congress has pushed through protections for Supreme Court justices, it should do the same for federal judges.

“I commend them for doing that,” Salas said of implementing the protections for Supreme Court justices. “But I also say to them that federal judges everywhere — federal judges, the lower federal courts stand on the front line of democracy. And we’ve been literally taking the fire for months now, years, in fact. And nothing is being done to protect us.”

Salas advocated for a bill named after her deceased son, the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, that would implement similar protections for federal judges.

“I live with the fact that my only child, my only child that Mark and I — we had one child and four miscarriages — we no longer have Daniel on this earth. We no longer have our son. And why? Because I was doing my job,” Salas said of the attack against her family.

Salas, who was appointed as a district judge by former President Obama, said that she empathized with the Supreme Court justices’ concerns about protesters coming to their homes, saying that “it almost makes me want to cry.”

“We do our jobs, we take an oath because we care about this country, because we care about democracy. And to do our jobs and to only be doing our jobs and to be fear of retribution, retaliation or death is not part of the deal, should never be part of the deal,” said Salas.

Salas emphasized that she does not see protections for judges or justices as a partisan issue or something that violates the First Amendment.

“Democracy demands this. Our Constitution demands this,” she said. “This should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. And we need to understand that public debate has a place, and that’s in the public forum. It does not have a place in front of justices of judges’ houses.”

Salas warned of the possibility of violence against more judges or their families if protections are not implemented soon.

“We need to act now. The time is now,” she said. “And it needs to be from both sides, Republican and Democrats, independents alike. We need to do something to protect the judiciary, and we need to do it before another tragedy befalls some family.”

Salas added, “And there is no room in America for this kind of conduct. We must realize that we have to do things civilly. We have to be civil to one another, and we have to protect our democracy at all costs.”

Tags Barack Obama Esther Salas Obama

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