Former federal judge fears judge could be killed in current political atmosphere

Search warrant Cites Mar-A-Lago

  • Scott Lamar

balance scale and magnifying glass on pile of books on blue background

balance scale and magnifying glass on pile of books on blue background

Air date: August 23, 2022

Federal Judge Bruce Reinhart signed the search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence earlier this month. Judge Reinhart’s signature meant he believed there was probable cause to search for documents that the National Archives says should not have been brought to Mar-A-Lago when Trump left the White House.

Since then, Justice Reinhart has been lambasted by Trump supporters as a partisan, his home address has been made public, his religion has been attacked and, even worse, threatened with violence.

Former federal judge John Jones is now president of Dickinson College. To be published on Tuesday Smart talk, Judge Jones said he feared a judge could be killed in today’s highly charged political atmosphere. He explained that Judge Reinhart is a magistrate and not a political appointee who was just doing his job signing the warrant. “They are appointed by the court. District judges are appointed by the president under the Constitution. The magistrate judges sit at the pleasure of the district judges. So this is Judge Reinhart. He understands that. He talks it over with the United States attorney and the FBI agents, then does his job, reviews the probable cause affidavit, and signs the warrant. And, of course, the search is executed. So he did exactly what we ask judges to do in our judicial system. And his reward is virulent threats against his person, his family, anti-Semitic remarks, all kinds of Photoshop representations online. And indeed even his house was found by people and additional protection from the police and US marshals had to be given to him as he was clearly in danger. And the last thought is, why was it so. Well, a big one because he was vilified by Trump and his supporters who made it look like he was part of the kind of deep state that is out to get the former president of the United States. And that was not the case at all. And so in exchange for his work, his life was in danger.

Judge Jones accuses today’s political rhetoric of putting judges at risk: “We need our public figures to start speaking more responsibly. We give the impression that the system is rigged. I’m sure some of your listeners probably think that. I don’t believe it is. Of course, there have always been politics, there have always been debates. We have always distrusted authority in the United States. It’s probably in our DNA, but we shouldn’t make irresponsible statements that are outright false, false on their face, that lead people to believe that certain actors in the system have some sort of improper motive for or to attract individuals .

Judge Jones argues for two proposals to Congress that would provide greater security for judges, “It allows judges to request and in effect, that it is mandatory that personally identifiable, identifiable excuse me, information be erased from websites and it could be social media, other places where this information, which could be the names of the judge’s family members, the addresses of the judges, etc., can be erased and in exchange, if you don’t clean it, if you are asked, there are criminals penalties for that. And the other thing that he does is he funds, he provides greater funds, the United States Marshals Service, so that he can assess those threats. When I was threatened as a federal judge. If it was of a particular nature that we are trained to look into, we could send it to the United States Marshal Service. They could investigate and determine whether or not it was a no real threat. We need more resources because they couldn’t investigate all the leads they received.

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