21 July 2020 08:30
The son of a US federal judge has been shot dead and her husband injured in an attack at their family home in New Jersey. Investigators said the judge, Esther Salas, was unharmed. Sources quoted by US media said Judge Salas's 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl - a student - opened the door at the family home in North Brunswick at about 17:00 on Sunday and was fatally shot. He is in a critical but stable condition in hospital, the New Jersey Globe reported. North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack told ABC News that "as a judge, she had threats from time to time but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any".
Investigators said prior threats made to the judge were a line of inquiry but authorities were also considering whether the husband's work as a criminal defence lawyer could be a motive. In a statement, the FBI said it was looking for one suspect and asked anyone who thought they might have relevant information to call them. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said he hoped that "those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice". "I know Judge Salas and her husband well, and was proud to recommend her to President Obama for nomination to NJ's federal bench," he said. "My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family." Judge Salas serves on the federal bench in New Jersey, the first Hispanic woman to do so, ABC News reported.
The suspect was named in a statement from the US attorney's office for the district of New Jersey. Den Hollander was a self-described "anti-feminist" lawyer who had sued nightclubs over ladies' night discounts, the federal government over a law protecting women from violence and a university over women's studies courses. He also brought a lawsuit before Judge Salas in 2015 challenging the male-only military draft. In a 1,700-page memoir he published online, Den Hollander said he had "wanted to ask the Judge out, but thought she might hold me in contempt". NBC News reports that he also wrote of fantasising about the rape of a female judge who had presided over his divorce case.
"We don't know if she was the target or he was the target," Carlos Salas, the judge's older brother, told the New York Times. Judge Salas was reportedly in the basement at the time of the attack. North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack, who is a friend of the Salas family, told ABC News that as a judge, Esther Salas "had threats from time to time but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any". Judge Salas serves on the federal bench in New Jersey. She is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey. In a 2018 profile in New Jersey Monthly, Judge Salas said she thought her son would someday pursue a career in law, like his parents. (CNN) On his website, Roy Den Hollander described himself as an "anti-feminist" lawyer who defended "men's rights." His personal writings and life's work reveal a toxic stew of sexist and racist bigotry. He had unsuccessfully filed lawsuits against bars and night clubs offering "ladies' nights," claiming they violate the 14th Amendment, and he filed suits against the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of its Violence Against Women Act--the "Female Fraud Act," as he referred to it--and against Columbia University, for its Women's Studies program. Federal authorities on Monday said Den Hollander is suspected of shooting the husband and son of US District Judge Esther Salas at her North Brunswick, New Jersey. The FBI called Den Hollander the "primary subject," and said he is dead. Two law enforcement sources told CNN that the suspect died of what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Suspect argued one case before the judge Mark Anderl, left, Esther Salas and Daniel Anderl. Den Hollander argued one case before Salas, according to federal court records: a lawsuit where he represented a woman and her daughter as they sought to register for the military's selective service. In the case, Den Hollander's clients claimed the draft was unconstitutional because it barred women from registering. The case, like at least one other in the federal court system, raised intricate legal questions about the treatment of women in the military. Salas sided against a part of Den Hollander's arguments last spring, but also agreed with some of his claims and allowed the lawsuit to continue on. The attorney exited the case in June 2019, handing it over to a team of lawyers at the large New York-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. Den Hollander said he "would not be able to see the case through" because he was terminally ill, Nick Gravante, Boies Schiller's managing partner, told CNN on Monday. Den Hollander had called Gravante out of the blue last year, asking the larger firm to take over the case before Salas. Roy Den Hollander The firm knew of Hollander's history pushing anti-women viewpoints, but saw the case as an opportunity to fight for equal rights for women. "We were not going to let Mr. Hollander's private views as expressed anywhere interfere with our taking over the case from him and going forward with it," Gravante said Monday. Gravante said he didn't know of any anger Hollander had for the judge or why he had worked on the case to begin with. In one of his writings, Den Hollander claimed he had been diagnosed with melanoma cancer in October 2018. On his website, Den Hollander wrote an autobiographical document in which he personally disparaged Salas in racist and sexist terms. Amid the ladies' night lawsuit, filed in 2007, Den Hollander was featured in reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker and made a guest appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." "The feminists have taken control over every institution in this country--they want to take control over men," he told the Times in 2011 after the Supreme Court declined to take up his ladies' night lawsuit. Den Hollander graduated from George Washington University Law School in 1985 and then worked as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, his online resume says. From 1986 to 1989, he worked as an associate at the prestigious legal firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and he has since primarily worked as a private attorney in New York, according to his resume and court filings. The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website: Judge Salas met her husband when he was a prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, according to a 2018 profile of her in New Jersey Monthly. After a decade as a prosecutor, Mark Anderl became a criminal defense lawyer and now works at his own law firm, Anderl & Oakley P.C. According to the federal docket, the only case that Mr. Den Hollander had before Judge Salas was a class-action lawsuit filed in 2015. In a 2018 ruling, Judge Salas allowed the case to proceed, a victory for Mr. Den Hollander. But in his online writings, he criticized the judge for not moving the case along fast enough. Gravante Jr., a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, said Mr. Den Hollander had called him in May 2019 and asked him to take over the case. The two lawyers had overlapped as associates at the white-shoe law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore in the late 1980s. Mr. Den Hollander said in the phone call that he could not continue in the case because he had terminal cancer and suggested that he did not have long to live, Mr. Gravante said. Mr. Den Hollander has also sued various nightclubs, claiming they violated the 14th Amendment by having "ladies' nights" discounts for women. After the case was dismissed, Mr. Den Hollander petitioned the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case. "Of course, the three females on the court probably voted against it," Mr. Den Hollander told The Times in 2011.