US District Judge Esther Salas called on Congress to enact a judicial security bill introduced as a response to her son’s 2020 murder after the Senate took swift action on legislation that would protect the families of Supreme Court justices.
“Congress has recognized the need to protect judges by acting quickly on important legislation to protect Supreme Court Justices families,” Salas said in a Tuesday statement. “Federal judges across the country are on the front lines, dealing with parties daily on the most serious and sensitive issues. We also need protection.”
The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act of 2021 (S. 2340; H.R. 4436) was named after Salas’ son, who was shot and killed by a gunman at their family home. The bill would prevent data brokers from being able to knowingly sell, trade, license purchase, or provide judges’ personally identifiable information, such as addresses.
It was reintroduced in 2021 after failing to advance last Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill with unanimous support last December. The House version awaits action by the House Judiciary Committee.
“The time to enact that bill is now,” Salas said.
The timeline of the judicial security bill contrasts with the Supreme Court Police Parity Act (S. 4160), which moved at lighting speed through the Senate after a leaked draft opinion showing a majority of the justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade prompted protests outside three justices’ homes.
The bipartisan bill extends protection by the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court police to justices’ immediate family members. It passed the Senate unanimously Monday—the week after the legislation was introduced.
In her statement, Salas also appeared to criticize protests at the justices’ homes.
“Public debate belongs in the public square, not on the doorway of a judges’ personal residence. This is a life-or-death issue,” Salas said.
Some leaders have supported the demonstrations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday he’s OK with protests at the justices’ residences “so long as they are peaceful.”
—With assistance from Megan Howard