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December 14, 2020


Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general in a letter urging Congress to pass legislation aimed at protecting the safety of federal judges and their families.

Addressed to leaders of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the letter supports passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act. The measure would protect the confidentiality of members of the federal judiciary’s personally-identifiable information in public records, and limit the distribution of that information online and by data brokers.

The letter calls passage of such legislation an urgent matter in light of attacks and increasing threats against members of the federal judiciary, and notes that the legislation has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.

“Federal judges should not fear for the safety of themselves or their families as a result of their public service,” Raoul said. “This legislation provides for important safeguards to protect judges as they work to protect and ensure our democracy through our judicial system.”

The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security Act is named for 20-year-old Daniel Anderl, the late son of Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Daniel was killed on July 19 when an attorney who had appeared in a case before Judge Salas appeared at her home and shot both Daniel and Judge Salas’ husband. The judge’s husband was critically wounded but survived the attack.

Today’s letter to Congress recalls that four federal judges have been murdered since 1979, including District Judge John Wood, District Judge Richard Daronco, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance and District Judge John Roll. In addition, two family members of District Judge Joan Lefkow were killed in a targeted attack in her Illinois home in 2005.

The letter notes that incidents, inappropriate communications and threats against federal judges and others protected by the U.S. Marshals Service have been steadily climbing in recent years, as evidenced by a spike in such incidents from 2,357 in 2016 to 4,449 in 2019.

“Increasingly, public servants are being threatened with physical violence and death simply for carrying out their duties in accordance with the Oath they swore to uphold the Constitution,” the letter states.

The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act was introduced in the Senate on Sept. 24 and in the House on Oct. 13, and the legislation would:

  • Protect judges and their families by requiring federal agencies to maintain the confidentiality of judges’ personally-identifiable information upon request.
  • Authorize funding for state and local governments to adopt similar measures.
  • Prohibit data brokers from selling, licensing, trading, purchasing, or otherwise providing or making available judges’ personally identifiable information.
  • Create an enforcement mechanism for judges and their immediate family members to secure removal of their personally-identifiable information from the internet.

In light of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death and the escalating danger to federal judges and their families, today’s letter expresses full support for the proposed legislation and notes that the Judicial Conference of the United States and the American Bar Association, among others, support such legislation.

The letter concludes by noting that, while New Jersey and other states have enacted similar judicial protection laws at a state level, only federal legislation can “protect federal judges and their families wherever they reside and ensure uniform enforcement nationwide.”

Joining Raoul in sending the letter are the attorneys general of Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


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