The letter leaked to RAW
STORY follows, first in text form, then in
a scanned format.
April 1, 2005
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Majority Leader DeLay,
I was stunned to read the threatening comments you
made yesterday against Federal judges and our nation’s
courts of law in general. In reference to certain Federal
judges, you stated: “The time will come for the
men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”
As you are surely aware, the family of Federal Judge
Joan H. Lefkow of Illinois was recently murdered in
their home. And at the state level, Judge Rowland W.
Barnes and others in his courtroom were gunned down
Our nation’s judges must be concerned for their
safety and security when they are asked to make difficult
decisions every day. That’s why comments like
those you made are not only irresponsible, but downright
dangerous. To make matters worse, is it appropriate
to make threats directed at specific Federal and state
You should be aware that your comments yesterday may
violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115
(a)(1)(B). That law states:
“Whoever threatens to assault…. or murder,
a United States judge… with intent to retaliate
against such… judge…. on account of the
performance of official duties, shall be punished [by
up to six years in prison]”
Threats against specific Federal judges are not only
a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress.
In my view, the true measure of democracy is how it
dispenses justice. Your attempt to intimidate judges
in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental
democracy as well.
Federal judges, as well as state and local judges in
our nation, are honorable public servants who make difficult
decisions every day. You owe them – and all Americans
– an apology for your reckless statements.
Frank R. Lautenberg