Attack on the family of Judge Esther Salas
Updated: Jul 29
In a dangerous attack that has led to speculations and fear, a gunman, disguised as a FedEx delivery man, shot the 20-year old son of Judge Esther Salas, district court judge of New Jersey on the 19th of July at about 5 o’clock. Her husband, Mark Anderl, a criminal defense lawyer, was consequently shot several times before the gunman fled the scene. The husband was severely injured, but currently in stable condition. Initial speculations indicated that the motive of the gunman was unclear, whether he was targeting Judge Salas, or her husband Mark Anderl. However, with investigations underway, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations zeroing on the primary suspect, it is clear that the intended target was Judge Esther Salas.
At the time of the shooting, Judge Salas was in the basement. Her son Daniel Anderl, opened the door and was shot. Hopes and prayers went out to the family, as relatives and friends spoke to the press, about Daniel and the career he aspired to pursue.
Judge Salas was appointed by former President Barack Obama and is a District Court Judge in the state of New Jersey. She breaks records as the first Hispanic judge in New Jersey. Mayor Francis Womack, claims the family did receive death threats from time to time, but not many in the recent past.
On Monday, the body of Roy Den Hollander, the primary suspect in the case, was found dead by an inflicted gunshot wound near the Catskills Mountains (a place of childhood significance for Hollander). Roy Den Hollander, a lawyer, has gained considerable attention, appearing on Comedy Central and Fox News, and is a self-proclaimed anti-feminist. Among his belongings, information, and a photo of another judge, Chief Judge Janet DiFore of New York. Protection is being extended to Judge DiFore.
Hollander has a history of being erratic and persistent when it comes to men’s rights, having participated in multiple lawsuits mounting attacks against women’s rights including, but not limited to: unsuccessfully suing the University of Columbia for women’s studies classes and filing lawsuits against nightclubs for “ladies’ nights”. Den Hollander has criticized Judge Salas’ life and story as “the usual effort to blame a man and turn someone into a supergirl”.
Five years ago, a female teenager sued the Selective Service System as she couldn’t register for the male-only draft and the lawsuit is receiving national attention today because it was presided over by Judge Esther Salas, where she let the lawsuit pass.
The plaintiff’s attorney at the time was Roy Den Hollander. This is the only time Judge Salas and suspect Roy Hollander interacted in court. Hollander pointed out that the judge was in a fundamental dilemma in the matter of the case, conflicted between feminists who stand for equal treatment, and feminists who stand for preferential treatment.
Wrapped in layers of anti-feminism, guilt, and obsession, the case is an indication to not only the very tragic death of a life filled with unachieved dreams but also fundamentally how we see human and gender rights, and how we decide to tackle them.