Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent a letter urging Congress to pass legislation aimed at protecting the safety of federal judges and their families.
The letter, signed by 51 of America’s attorneys general, supports passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act or similar legislation. The bill would protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information of members of the federal judiciary in public records and limit the distribution of that information online and by data brokers.
“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 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, 2020, when an attorney who had appeared in a case before Judge Salas – a man described in today’s letter as “deranged” – appeared at her home and shot both Daniel and Judge Salas’ husband. The judge’s husband was critically wounded but survived the attack.
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.
The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act would, among other initiatives:
- 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 for consideration judges’ personally identifiable information.
- Create an enforceable mechanism for judges and their immediate family members to secure removal of their personally identifiable information from the Internet.
The letter concludes by noting that only federal legislation can “protect federal judges and their families wherever they reside and ensure uniform enforcement nationwide.”
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