I first wrote about threats against judges here. Since then, one Donald Trump appeared. He has threatened and publicly attacked judges almost daily. Judge J. Michael Luttig has expressed concern about how Mr. Trump has almost normalized threats against judges. As the very conservative Judge has pointed out:

“We all have to understand that from the first time the former president began his attacks, vicious attacks on the federal courts and the state courts and their individual judges, his objective was to delegitimize those courts,”

Judge Luttig explains that Mr. Trump does this, so that when and if the judges rule against Trump, his followers will see the ruling as politically motivated. Mr. Trump is the only person claiming these institutions lack legitimacy. But, so far, no one in power is calling him out on his abuse, says Judge Luttig.

Attempts to Kill Judges

Just a few years ago, Judge Julie Kocurek was ambushed at her home in Austin, Texas. The Judge was shot four times, but survived. Judge Kocurek was a criminal court judge. The man who shot her had appeared before her in a fairly routine case involving fraud. But, he was also head of a large, complex, criminal fraud scheme. He wanted to be sure the Judge did not shut him down.

In 2020, a Federal judge in New Jersey was targeted by a lawyer. The lawyer managed to kill Judge Esther Salas’s son and wounded the judge’s husband. Judges take on real risk. Mr. Trump is exacerbating that risk. As Judge Luttig says, judges and their staff should not be attacked simply for doing their jobs.

In Donald Trump’s upcoming trial in New York he has again publicly attacked the presiding judge, Juan Meehan, and his daughter. Reacting to the attack on a family member, Judge Merchan warned: a person must “draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well.” 

See The Hill report here for more information about Judge Luttig’s comments.