Press Release

June 13, 2024
Bipartisan Bill to Protect State and Local Judges Passes Senate

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.). John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) released the following statements after their 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, passed the Senate:

“Judges and court personnel are integral to our judicial system, serving as safeguards to their communities and the rule of law. Sadly, in Maryland last year, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson was assassinated at his home, after simply doing his job by deciding a case in his courtroom,” said Senator Cardin. “This legislation will help to better protect judges and their families, so that judges can remain safe and independent, and ultimately rule without fear or favor, as envisioned by our Constitution.”

“In the face of unacceptable attacks on our judiciary, more must be done to protect our nation’s courts, the men and women who work in them, and the judicial independence they uphold each and every day,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bipartisan legislation would establish a resource center to identify and respond to bad actors who threaten judges, their families, and employees, and I urge the House to quickly send it to the President’s desk.”

“I’m delighted that the Senate has unanimously passed our bipartisan bill to help keep state and local judges safe so they can do their jobs without fear or prejudice,” said Senator Coons. “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. It is a shame that heightened polarization and partisanship has led to a spike in threats and attacks on members of the bench that endangers the independence of our justice system.”

“Judges perform a critical community service at every level of our justice system,” said Senator Moran. “In response to growing threats and attacks against members of the judiciary, the Senate has advanced our legislation to provide needed resources and support to local law enforcement tasked with protecting judges and courthouses.”

“It’s a sad reality that threats meant to intimidate judges and court personnel have increased significantly in recent years,” said Senator 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.”

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).


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

  1. Provide technical assistance to state and local judges and court personnel around judicial security;
  2. Provide physical security assessments for courts, homes, and other facilities where judicial officers and staff conduct court-related business;
  3. Conduct research to identify, examine, and advance best practices around judicial security;
  4. 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).