Enhancing the security of all our federal judges is an issue of paramount importance to the ABA. As we explained in last month’s Washington Letter, the ABA has been urging Congress to act swiftly and decisively to pass the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act (S. 2340 and H.R. 4436) so that it may be enacted into law before the end of the 117th Congress.
Both bills have broad bipartisan support. The Senate bill was introduced by New Jersey Senator Menendez (D-NJ), along with original cosponsors, Senators Booker (D-NJ), Graham (R-SC), Durbin (D-IL), Kennedy (R-LA), and Feinstein (D-CA). The House bill was introduced by Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and now has more than 115 cosponsors.
Now the legislation has a new, promising path to enactment. Earlier this month, the Senate Armed Services Committee included the provisions of the bill in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual must-pass bill that now needs to be “conferenced” and passed by both chambers of Congress before it can become law. We need your help to make sure that the judicial security provisions remain in the final negotiated version of the NDAA. Urge your Members of Congress to keep judicial security in the NDAA by sending this preformatted letter now.
A bedrock principle of our U.S. Constitution is a fair and impartial judiciary where judges can issue decisions based on the facts of the case without fear of reprisal or physical harm. Today, as we are reminded by the recent murder of a judge’s son in the family home, the ready availability of judges’ personal information on the Internet and the ease with which such information can be shared through social media puts our judges and their family members at risk every time they issue a decision that may be controversial or unpopular.
This legislation would enhance judicial security by restricting the disclosure and publication of judges’ personally identifiable information, such as home addresses, car license plates, personal telephone numbers, and locations of schools attended by immediate family members. It also would authorize additional resources to enhance the ability of the U.S. Marshals Service to assess, deter, and protect judges from credible threats of harm to themselves and their family.
We all must remain vigilant and do what is necessary to preserve and protect our judges and our courts. Help us by clicking here to use our grassroots tools to contact your Members of Congress to tell them the time to strengthen protections for our judges is now, not after another tragic incident -- urge them to make sure the bipartisan judicial security legislation is passed this year as part of the NDAA.