The number of threats to federal judges has more than doubled in the last three years. Those sobering numbers are according to reporting by Reuters.
Serious threats to federal judges — that is, ones investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service — went from 224 in 2021 to 457 in 2023. During that same period, threats against federal prosecutors also more than doubled — 68 in 2021 to 155 in 2023.
The increase in numbers isn’t the only difference now. The why has changed too. Marshals Director Ronald Davis told Reuters he sees the deeply divided political landscape as fueling this increase.
In the past, judges mostly faced threats from people who were upset about a judge’s decision in their own cases, Davis said. Now, he said, many more are coming from people enraged because of politics.
“The threat environment right now that is causing me concern is when people disagree with the judicial process or the government, and that turns into those verbal attacks,” Davis said in the interview. “And that is the beginning of the process that threatens the judiciary and threatens our democracy.”
And is it truly surprise? After all, as the legal troubles facing former president Donald Trump have mounted, he’s taken to — repeatedly — using violent rhetoric to threaten the judges and prosecutors behind these woes. And there’s been a correlation to the threats received.
It’s no wonder Davis said there’s a “growing concern” about the threats that are being fueled by the sharp political divide and fanned by social media.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].