U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was thrust into the national spotlight this July after her son Daniel was killed was shot and killed in her home, allegedly by a “men’s rights activist” lawyer who was unhappy with the judge’s ruling on a lawsuit he had recently filed. On Tuesday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Judge Salas advocating for Congress to pass legislation providing for more comprehensive protections for federal judges.
Roy Den Hollander, the man who allegedly shot Judge Salas’ 20-year-old son, self-identified as an “anti-feminist” and was known for filing lawsuits against policies and practices he believed benefited women and discriminated against men. Before allegedly attempting to attack Judge Salas, Hollander targeted her in a racist and misogynistic two thousand word document he wrote and uploaded to the Internet Archive in late 2019.
In her op-ed, Judge Salas writes:
“For judges and their families, better security is a matter of life and death. But its importance goes beyond our well-being alone. For our nation’s sake, judicial security is essential. Federal judges must be free to make their decisions, no matter how unpopular, without fear of harm. The federal government has a responsibility to protect all federal judges because our safety is foundational to our great democracy.”
She continues on to more explicitly detail how the threat to federal judges has been growing in recent years, underscoring how essential it is for Congress to take action.
“The threat to judges is intensifying. Security incidents targeting judges and other personnel who play integral roles in federal court cases rose to 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications in 2019, from 926 such incidents in 2015, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.”
Read Judge Esther Salas’s full piece here.