Targeted murders of federal judges and their families at their private homes date back to May 29, 1979. Most recently, in July 2020, Judge Esther Salas’s only son, Daniel, was murdered and her husband near-fatally shot at their home. Individuals wishing to inflict such harm or death at federal judges’ homes have been able to do so because of federal judges’ publicly available home addresses. Because personally identifying information (PII) is defined differently from statute to statute, home addresses largely remain public information in most states and can be found in real estate records, data broker websites, social media platforms, and people-search websites. In a digital age of heightened polarization and the view that federal judges’ roles are becoming increasingly politicized, federal judges and their families are even more at risk of their home addresses being publicized online in retaliation or threat. This fear of harm or death directly affects the independence and legitimacy of the Judiciary which poses a threat to the rule of law and democracy. Federal judges have a right to privacy when it comes to their home addresses – more specifically, the right to be left alone when they are in their homes. This Note advocates for swift action on behalf of the 117th United States Congress to pass a law – preferably the original and unamended version of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security Act – that both defines and protects federal judges’ home addresses as PII with prescribed causes of action and damages for violations of the law.
Hannah Elias Sbaity,
Private Lives at Home and Public Lives in Court: Protecting the Privacy of Federal Judges' Home Addresses,
J. Intell. Prop. L.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/jipl/vol28/iss2/7