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Cornyn, Coons, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect State and Local Judges

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U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced the Countering Threats and Attacks on Our Judges Act, which would establish a State Judicial Threat Intelligence and Resource Center. Image Sources: Cornyn: US Senate Wikimedia Commons.Coons: United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Moran United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Jeanne Shaheen United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Whitehouse United States Senate Photographic Studio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced the Countering Threats and Attacks on Our Judges Act, which would establish a State Judicial Threat Intelligence and Resource Center. Image Sources: Cornyn: US Senate Wikimedia Commons.Coons: United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Moran United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Jeanne Shaheen United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Whitehouse United States Senate Photographic Studio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced the Countering Threats and Attacks on Our Judges Act, which would establish a State Judicial Threat Intelligence and Resource Center to provide technical assistance, training, and threat monitoring for state and local judges and court personnel:

“Any threat or attack against judges, their families, or court personnel is unacceptable, and more must be done to ensure they can do their jobs safely and live their lives without fear,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By establishing a resource center to identify and respond to bad actors, this legislation would ensure our nation’s courts and their employees are protected and judicial independence remains intact.”

“Every public servant, including the members of our state and local judiciary, should be able to do their jobs free from threats to themselves, their families, or their livelihoods,” said Sen. Coons. “Unfortunately, heightened polarization and partisanship has coincided with a spike in threats and attacks on members of the bench that endangers the independence of our justice system. This bipartisan bill helps keep state and local judges safe so they can do their jobs without fear or prejudice.”  

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“Judges perform a critical community service at every level of our justice system,” said Sen. Moran. “Regardless of how a judge rules on a case, any form of harassment or intimidation is unacceptable. In response to growing threats and attacks against members of the judiciary, this legislation would provide needed resources and support to local law enforcement tasked with protecting judges and courthouses.”

“As courts across the nation experience an uptick in violence directed towards judges and their staff, we must do more to help ensure they have the protections they need to keep our public servants out of harm’s way,” said Sen. Shaheen. “This legislation will establish a State Judicial Threat Intelligence and Resource Center to help implement the enhanced security measures necessary to keep people safe around the country and in New Hampshire.”

“It’s a sad reality that threats meant to intimidate judges and court personnel have increased significantly in recent years,” said Sen. Whitehouse. “Our bipartisan bill to improve security at courthouses and judges’ homes will protect court officials from violence and harassment and help safeguard the integrity of the judicial system.”

Background:

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The Countering Threats and Attacks on Our Judges Act would create a State Judicial Threat Intelligence and Resource Center to:

Provide technical assistance to state and local judges and court personnel around judicial security;

Provide physical security assessments for courts, homes, and other facilities where judicial officers and staff conduct court-related business;

Conduct research to identify, examine, and advance best practices around judicial security;

And be housed within the existing State Justice Institute, a private nonprofit and nonpartisan corporation established by Congress in 1984.

The legislation is supported by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal (CCJSCA), All Rise, National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO), National Association for Court Management (NACM), American Judges Association (AJA), National Center for State Courts (NCSC), and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA).

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