U.S. Judicial Conference Urges Senate to Back Security Funding

Citing a growing danger to federal judges and courthouses, the Judicial Conference of the United States has asked the U.S. Senate to support a total of $182.5 million in supplemental funding to bolster security.

“There is an urgent need for immediate Congressional action to address the security of judges and federal courthouses,” said a June 7 letter (pdf) to the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Our constitutional system depends on judges who can make decisions without fear of reprisal or retribution. This is essential not just for the safety of judges and their families, but also to protect our democracy.”

The letter was signed by Judge John W. Lungstrum, chair of the Judicial Conference’s Budget Committee, and Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, secretary to the Judicial Conference. It noted that judicial security funding is included in a House bill passed May 20, H.R. 3237, the “Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act.”

“This funding is needed for security improvements to ‘harden’ courthouses, for a security vulnerability program to increase judges’ safety, and to reimburse the Federal Protective Service (FPS) for upgrading aging exterior courthouse security cameras,” the letter said. “In addition, we strongly support the $25.0 million in H.R. 3237 for the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) for judicial security.”

In the past year, the Judiciary has been rocked by multiple attacks on personnel and court buildings.

In July 2020, the son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was murdered, and her husband gravely wounded, by a disgruntled litigant posing as a courier at their home in New Jersey. Also in 2020, security personnel were shot outside two courthouses, one fatally, and more than 50 courthouses were vandalized during public disturbances.

In addition to those attacks, the number of threats and inappropriate communications targeting judges and other personnel essential to court proceedings rose from 926 in 2015, to 4,261 in 2020, a 360 percent increase, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

In December, Congress approved funding for the U.S. Marshals Service to modernize home security systems at judges’ personal residences, and to improve the Marshals Service’s ability to identify and investigate online threats against judges and court facilities.

The House legislation includes:

  • $112.5 million in supplemental funding to harden the ground floors of federal courthouses against external attack;  
  • $10 million for a “security vulnerability program to proactively identify active and potential threats against Judiciary facilities and judges and their families”;
  • and $35 million to reimburse the Federal Protective Service to upgrade aging exterior perimeter security cameras at 36 locations.

“A comprehensive approach is required to address the growing violence and threats facing the Judiciary,” Lungstrum and Mauskopf wrote. “We ask the Appropriations Committee to provide the needed funding.”

More from: info@uscourts.gov

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    This Capsule—named for its 2-page format—draws from a number of GAO reports to provide examples of how the federal government and states have used Medicaid during pandemics, economic recessions, natural disasters, and other crises. In this Capsule, GAO cites policy considerations and reiterates a recommendation to Congress. For more information, contact Carolyn L. Yocom at (202) 512-7114 or yocomc@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Briefing With Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan A. Sales On Terrorist Designations of Al-Shabaab Leaders
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Nathan A. Sales, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Antitrust Case and Simultaneous Settlement Requiring National Association of Realtors® To Repeal and Modify Certain Anticompetitive Rules
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today filed a civil lawsuit against the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) alleging that NAR established and enforced illegal restraints on the ways that REALTORS® compete.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Nino Scalia of Madison’s Notes Podcast
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Former Police Officer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Civil Rights Violation
    In Crime News
    A former officer with the St. Paul Police Department in St. Paul, Minnesota, was sentenced today to six years in prison after a jury found him guilty of a civil rights violation.
    [Read More…]
  • Engineering Firm And Its Former Executive Indicted On Antitrust And Fraud Charges
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Raleigh, North Carolina returned an indictment charging Contech Engineered Solutions LLC and Brent Brewbaker, a former executive at the company, for participating in long-standing conspiracies to rig bids and defraud the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), the Department of Justice announced.
    [Read More…]
  • Three Foreign Nationals Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that three Sri Lankan citizens have been charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS).  The men were part of a group of ISIS supporters which called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka.”  That group is responsible for the 2019 Easter attacks in the South Asian nation of Sri Lanka, which killed 268 people, including five U.S. citizens, and injured over 500 others, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed today.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Issues Statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Proposed Rules to Support Enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act
    In Crime News
    Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement concerning their proposed rules to support enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act:
    [Read More…]
  • Federal Court Permanently Shuts Down Mississippi Tax Preparer
    In Crime News
    A federal court in the Northern District of Mississippi has permanently enjoined a Senatobia, Mississippi, tax return preparer from preparing returns for others and from owning, operating, or franchising any tax return preparation business in the future.
    [Read More…]
  • Eswatini Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At the Three Seas Virtual Summit and Web Forum
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]