U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that with the final passage of the 2005 Supplemental Appropriations bill, an amendment to provide $12 million to protect federal judges in their homes and courthouses will soon be signed into law.
In March, the Illinois Senators wrote to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Democrat Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), urging increased funding for the protection of federal judges and for courtroom security in the Supplemental Appropriations bill, citing the recent murders of the husband and mother of federal judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago and the courtroom killings in Atlanta.
Both Obama and Durbin praised the Senate's decision to include their amendment in the final bill.
"Our judges should never have to worry that simply doing their jobs will put them or their families at risk. I believe that the additional protections this money provides will make our judges safer, and will help them feel more secure," said Obama. "I am very pleased that Congress passed this amendment offered by Senator Durbin and me to provide $12 million to protect federal judges both on the job and in their homes."
"Congress has done the right thing by ensuring that these funds for judicial security are in the Supplemental," said Durbin. "Violence against our judges and our courtrooms are an unacceptable threat to the American criminal justice system. It is important that judges feel safe in their homes and workplaces, and this funding will help provide additional protection to them and their families."
The funding approved by the Senate will be used for installation of security systems at the homes of federal judges, protective surveillance at the homes of judges and at courthouses, and for protective intelligence gathering and analysis. The increase in funding for judicial security was also recommended by the Judicial Conference of the United States - the principal policy-making body for the federal court system.