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Mich. AG joins coalition supporting legislation to protect federal judges, families

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Posted at 4:02 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 16:03:01-05

LANSING, Mich. — Tuesday Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced she has joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general in a letter urging Congress to pass legislation aimed at protecting the safety of federal judges and their families.

The letter was addressed to leaders of both the House and Senate Judiciary committees. It supports passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, a bill that would protect the confidentiality of personal identifying information of members of the federal judiciary in public records. The bill would also limit the distribution of that information online and by data brokers.

The letter calls passage of such legislation an urgent matter given the recent attacks and threats of violence on judges, and notes that the proposal has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.

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.

“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 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 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, while New Jersey and other states have enacted similar judicial protection laws on a state level, only federal legislation can “protect federal judges and their families wherever they reside and ensure uniform enforcement nationwide.”

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