A federal judge whose son was killed and whose husband was critically wounded in an attack at their home in New Jersey said in a televised interview released Friday that the gunman also had targeted Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview that will air Sunday that authorities found a locker used by the killer, Roy Den Hollander, a lawyer who had a case before Salas and who committed suicide after killing her 20-year-old son, Daniel, in the summer.
“They found another gun, a Glock, more ammunition,” Salas said. “But the most troubling thing they found was a manila folder with a work-up on Justice Sonia Sotomayor.”
“Who knows what could have happened? But we need to understand that judges are at risk,” Salas told correspondent Bill Whitaker. “That we put ourselves in great danger every day for doing our jobs.”
Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said, “the justice will have no comment” on the report, and would not discuss whether security for the justices has been increased.
“We don’t discuss security as a matter of court policy,” Arberg said.
Sotomayor, 66, was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2009 by President Barack Obama and is the first and only Hispanic to serve as a justice.
The “60 Minutes” report said that threats to federal judges — which include hate mail, phone harassment, protests at their homes and threats of violence — have risen 400% over the last five years.
The U.S. Marshals, who protect federal judges, are asking for 1,000 more officers at a cost of $250 million, the report said. Salas is supporting a bill that would scrub personal information about judges from the internet and upgrade home security systems for judges.
At least two of the hundreds of people indicted after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington made threats about Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.
Charging documents say that one of those indicted, Tommy Frederick Allan, was identified after an acquaintance said Allan “shared a disturbing post that said the next step of the Insurrection was to get rid of Justice Roberts.”
Documents in the indictment of Stephen Michael Ayres said Roberts was included in a more wide-ranging Facebook rant on Jan. 3.
“Mainstream media, social media, Democrat party, FISA courts, Chief Justice John Roberts, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, etc … all have committed TREASON against a sitting U.S. president!!! All are now put on notice by ‘We The People!'” the documents allege Ayres wrote.
Roberts has been a lightning rod on right-wing social media for those upset that the Supreme Court — as have other courts — dismissed challenges to the presidential election brought by President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Trump said the Supreme Court “really let us down.”
Roberts has been singled out in right-wing postings despite the fact the court was unified in rejecting the challenges that have advanced. None of Trump’s three nominees to the court, for instance, expressed interest in taking up the matter.
Gabe Roth, executive director of the watchdog group Fix the Court, said the report of targeting Sotomayor was “awful but also not surprising.”
His group has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents relating to the justices’ travels and found blacked out sections under “reported threats,” especially against Sotomayor and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It’s impossible to know what’s been redacted, of course, but it does suggest there are potentially several ongoing threats against the justices, and we need to do more to protect them,” Roth said.
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The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner contributed to this report