“A judicial system cannot and should not live in fear,” Chief Justice Roberts added as he thanked Congress for passing a law last year to protect judges. The new law was named in honor of Daniel Anderl, the son of Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, who was murdered in 2020 in an assault meant for the judge at her home. The law screens from the public the personal information of federal judges and their families, including identifiers such as license plate numbers and addresses. Leaders like the chief justice deserve praise when they highlight the dangers all public officials now face.Focusing on the Brown decision was nonetheless surprising. After all, the court appears poised to reverse a decision upholding affirmative action in school admissions, one of the very remedies that the Brown decision spawned, and which all nine members of the court stood squarely behind in 1954 and reaffirmed in a subsequent case in 1958.In past years, the chief justice sometimes used his year-end report to describe substantive reforms in the federal courts, like the task force created in 2018 in response to allegations that federal judges had harassed their staffs sexually and in other ways. Not so in his latest report, which was four pages long with a five-page appendix. Chief Justice Roberts did not mention any of the many issues that made the news about the court last year — the lack of an effective recusal requirement for justices whose actions or those of family members raise questions about impartiality, the leak of a draft of the court’s decision overturning abortion rights, the insufficiency of financial disclosure and questions about fund-raising for the Supreme Court Historical Society."
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|J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press|