To the Cornell Law School Community:

By now, many of you have heard of the tragic news that has befallen Judge Esther Salas and her family. In an act of senseless violence, the judge’s son was fatally shot, and her husband was seriously wounded. Judge Salas is a friend of our community—some of you may remember her as the passionate speaker from her fireside chat during our celebration of International Women’s Day last year or during her panel event. Some of you may know her from clerkships. In any capacity, she has undoubtedly left a deep impression on those who have had the privilege of knowing her.  

We write to express our deepest condolences and anger for Judge Salas and her family. We support the judge and her family, and we condemn this racist, sexist incident. Cornell Law School is committed to diversity and inclusivity, and those who harm others with principles that run afoul to this commitment, harms us all.

We also write to honor Judge Salas’ call for national dialogue around greater privacy for federal judges. In her video, she states that the gunman:

“knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family. At the moment, there is nothing we can do to stop it, and that is unacceptable,” she said. “My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench.”

Currently, laws do not define the address or phone number of federal judges as private information. This must change. In the face of this unspeakable tragedy, we support Judge Salas’ call for legislation providing greater protections for federal judges.

Additionally, we encourage anyone who would like to send the judge a letter, to send it to her chambers:

Judge Esther Salas

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

50 Walnut Street, Room 5076

Newark, NJ 07102

Time and again, the Cornell Law community proves to be capable of coming together and rising above difficult circumstances by engaging in dialogue, thinking critically, and taking action. We now ask our community to engage with this issue in solidarity with Judge Esther Salas. 

In Solidarity,

Women of Color Collective

Women’s Law Coalition

Latin American Law Students Association

Additional Information:

There have been two major announcements, one from the federal judiciary and one from the New Jersey legislature, setting out legislative and administrative measures which would protect judges’ personal information.