US Chief Justice: judicial safety is key to the rule of law News
© WikiMedia (Fred Schilling)
US Chief Justice: judicial safety is key to the rule of law

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Saturday released his Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary and highlighted the vital link between the safety of judges and the rule of law. Roberts’ comments follow a year of controversial decisions by US courts and an increase of threats against members of the judiciary. US Marshalls reported 4,511 “threats and inappropriate communications against protected persons” in 2021.

Roberts recounted the history of District Judge Ronald Davies, who remained “uncowed” in the face of physical threats after he ordered Arkansas Central High School to proceed with desegregation in 1957. Roberts argued that the rule of law allows for disagreement with the decisions of judges. He noted that judges often strongly disagree with each other, but the judicial oath requires judges to apply the law without fear or favour. When judges face threats of physical harm to themselves and their families, the rule of law is undermined, Roberts said.

Roberts made mention of additional funding provided to protect judges in the last year and thanked the officers of various departments. Roberts also personally expressed gratitude to Judge Esther Salas for her advocacy for judicial safety in the wake of an attempt on her life which resulted in the death of her son.