Mark Figley: Judges deserve protection

By Mark Figley - Guest Columnist

Since the unauthorized leak of a rough draft by Justice Samuel Alito to overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states, no one on the left has stepped forward to denounce it.

Even as conservative justices’ home addresses were posted online and unhinged protesters marched outside their homes, Democrats refused to condemn efforts to intimidate these jurists prior to their expected vote to return abortion access to the states.

Then, Montgomery County, Maryland, police arrested a 26-year-old California man near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he threatened to kill the judge while in possession of a knife, handgun, pepper spray, duct tape, zip ties and burglary tools. This is the natural result of the left’s unending assault upon the court in recent years after Republican attainment of a conservative majority.

Among those inspiring such mayhem is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who in the spring of 2020 agitated protestors in front of the Supreme Court with direct threats toward Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Schumer addressed the judges by name, stating, “You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Such no-holds barred verbiage by Democrats serves to inspire the unhinged, and threatens not only the constitutional authority of the court but the safety of judges and their families. One need look no further than the tragic case of New Jersey Federal Judge Esther Salas for proof.

On July 19, 2020, a disgruntled attorney posing as a delivery driver rang the doorbell of Salas’ home. Her only child, Daniel, answered the door and was immediately shot to death, while her husband was shot three times and survived. Salas, who suffered four previous miscarriages, and her family had just celebrated Daniel’s 20th birthday. Although she was unharmed, Salas was the shooter’s intended target for assassination.

The attacker was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and had appeared months before in Judge Salas’ courtroom. FBI investigators reported that he had a detailed dossier on the judge and her family, disparaged her ethnicity, and had also compiled a list of several other individuals whom he wished to target; including Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a New York judge.

Since the incident, Salas and her husband have firmly advocated for increased protection of federal judges against violent threats. In November 2020, their efforts led to the enactment of “Daniel’s Law” in New Jersey. The law, named for her son, increases efforts to protect federal judges and their immediate families and safeguards their personal identification information.

Yet although the Supreme Court Police Parity Act providing protection to immediate families of the nine justices was recently passed by the Senate and House of Representatives (despite 27 no votes by Democrats), “Daniel’s Law” still languishes because it doesn’t extend similar protections to members of Congress. This despite a report from the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General which indicates that security incidents against federal judges increased by 89% from 2016-2019.

It is notable that Sen. Schumer, who incited protesters through his judicial rant, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately control the prospects of judicial protections. And Joe Biden, who finally signed the Parity Act into law, had previously been too busy endlessly pontificating about the Jan. 6 “insurrection” to worry about protecting judges. Thus, Democrats engage in a dangerous game when they eliminate the thin line between protest and intimidation to achieve their political ends.

A clear message must be sent to those who believe that threats are a satisfactory extension of political activity. Sensible measures are needed to protect the safety of judges and to secure their personal information and that of their families without delay.

Judge Kavanaugh was lucky. Judge Esther Salas was spared her life but suffered the ultimate loss of her only child to senseless violence. She and other judges who interpret the law and uphold the sanctity of the Constitution deserve the supreme protection that society can provide.

By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

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