The Obama-appointed federal judge who survived an assassination attempt but lost her son in the attack called for civility and greater protection for judges nationwide while speaking Tuesday on Fox News.
U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was presiding over a lawsuit related to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein when a gunman disguised as a delivery driver showed up at her New Jersey home and opened fire. Salas’ son, 20-year-old Daniel, was shot and killed after he answered the door. Salas’ husband, defense attorney Mark Anderl, was also shot but survived. The suspect was later found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On “America’s Newsroom,” Salas called for Congress to extend protections for all judges nationwide after the Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday extending police protections to the families of the Supreme Court justices (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Schumer Warned SCOTUS Justices They ‘Won’t Know What Hit’ Them If They Vote Wrong On Abortion)
“Daniel was murdered over 21 months and 18 days ago and Daniel’s bill, the Daniel Judicial Security and Privacy Act, has been in limbo. Yet now we see efforts by Congress, bipartisan efforts, to push protections through for the Supreme Court justices, which they should be doing. But they did that in less than a week. And it looks like it will pass the House today,” Salas said.
“I commend them for doing that but I also say to them that federal judges everywhere, federal judges, the lower federal courts stand on the front line of democracy and we’ve been literally taking the fire for months now, years in fact,” she went on to say. “And nothing is being done to protect us. We stand at the front line for democracy and we all, justices and federal court judges at all levels, need to be protected. Democracy demands this. Our Constitution demands this. The time is now. What else do we need? More deaths?”
“Can you describe what you imagine to be the worries of the Supreme Court justices and their families as they see these protests over the last few days?” host Dana Perino asked.
“I can. It makes me want to cry because you know what? We do our jobs, we take an oath because we care about this country, because we care about democracy. And to do our jobs and to only be doing our jobs and to be in fear of retribution, retaliation or death is not part of the deal. Should never be part of the deal. This should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. And we need to understand that public debate has a place and that’s in the public forum. It does not have a place in front of the justice’s or judge’s houses.”
“This is not a First Amendment issue,” she continued.
“I live with the fact that my only child – my only child, Mark and I had one child and four miscarriages. We no longer have Daniel on this earth. We no longer have our son. Why? Because I was doing my job. And there is no room in America for this kind of conduct. We must realize that we have to do things civilly … and protect our democracy at all costs. We know what can happen,” Salas added.
Several left-leaning politicians have called for protests against the high court after Politico reported on a leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted a “call for arms” Monday.
“To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community – the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms.”
“We will not surrender our rights without a fight – a fight to victory!”
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallied pro-abortion activists outside of the court as well, telling protesters she is “angry because an extremist United States Supreme Court thinks that they impose their extremist views on all of the women in this country, and they are wrong.”
“We have reached the culmination of what Republicans have been fighting for decades now, and we are going to fight back.”