U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas said the shooter who killed her son and wounded her husband in a 2020 attack meant for her was also targeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, according to a “60 Minutes” report set to air Sunday.
Salas said the FBI found a file on Sotomayor, alongside a gun and ammunition, in a locker used by Roy Den Hollander, an “anti-feminist” lawyer who died by suicide after attacking Salas’ husband and son at their family home.
”They found another gun, a Glock, more ammunition,” Salas said, “but the most troubling thing they found was a manila folder with a workup on Justice Sonia Sotomayor.”
“Who knows what could have happened,” added Salas, who has been campaigning for new legislation to prevent identifiable information on justices from being published online.
In July 2020, Roy Den Hollander showed up at Judge Salas’ New Jersey home disguised as a delivery worker and opened fire, killing her 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, and seriously wounding her husband, Mark Anderl. Salas, who was in the basement at the time, was unharmed. Authorities believe Den Hollander, a self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer with a history of open hostility towards women and violently misogynistic blog posts, targeted Salas over her apparently slow handling of a case challenging the constitutionality of the male-only draft. The lawyer also had a history of pursuing cases alleging discrimination against men, including a suit claiming Columbia’s women’s studies program was unfair to men and another opposing a federal law protecting women from violence. After his death, police linked Den Hollander to the killing of a rival men’s rights lawyer in California days before his attack on Salas’ home, which also involved a shooter disguised as a delivery worker. The New York Times, citing a police official, reported that authorities were investigating whether Den Holland, who had recently received a terminal cancer diagnosis, was seeking revenge against his enemies. The Times later said police found a list of more than a dozen possible targets, including three other judges, in a car Den Hollander had rented (Sotomayor was not mentioned).
In an emotional video released after the attack, Salas said the personal information of judges and their families is “readily available” online and criticized the online brokers who sell it, calling for better regulations safeguarding judges’ privacy. The incident, and Salas’ entreaties, garnered bipartisan attention, and a federal bill to protect judges and their families from having information published online and to make information brokers accountable for selling this information bears the name of Salas’ late son. Salas said she hopes the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act of 2020 will be passed “expeditiously.”
“In my case, this monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family,” Salas said in her first public comments after the attack. “My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench. . . . Now, more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private…this is a matter of life and death.”
4,000. In the last five years alone, the U.S. Marshals Service report a 400% increase in “inappropriate comments” and threats against federal court workers, totaling over 4,000 a year.