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Retired Federal Judges Speak Out for Judicial Safety on Heels of Alarming Report

WASHINGTON, DC – In the shadow of a staggering increase in threats against our nation’s judiciary, highlighted by a triple-digit surge in 2023, Keep Our Republic (KOR) issued a powerful call to action.

With 457 federal judges and 155 federal prosecutors facing specific threats last year alone, and with the expectation that election-related litigation will again be front and center this year, the need for a robust community response has never been more critical.

KOR Executive Director Ari Mittleman asserted, “America’s judiciary, the backbone of our democracy, is facing historic pressure. This surge in threats is a clarion call for all of us to stand in defense of our nation’s bedrock principles. Pennsylvanians have seen the dangers of unchecked hate and conspiracy—the October 2018 attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life is a harrowing reminder. Silence is not an option.”

Echoing this urgency, former Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, Timothy Lewis, states, “The rule of law is what sets us apart as a nation. It’s time for every American, especially our retired federal judges, to raise their voices. We must protect those who uphold justice in Pennsylvania and across our nation.”

“In the face of adversity, our resolve is only strengthened,” adds former Chief Judge of the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania and current President of Dickinson College, John Jones. “As America approaches its 250th birthday, let us remember that our unity and respect for the judiciary are paramount.”

Former U.S. Attorney and Western District Court of Pennsylvania Judge Robert Cindrich offers a rallying cry: “The stakes could not be higher. We call on level-headed Americans to join us in this critical moment. Our democracy, our rule of law, and our very freedoms are at risk.”

“Our Founding Fathers built our constitutional republic in Pennsylvania,” said former Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Vanaskie. “They built a democracy where separate branches of government work together to create a country of laws. It is up to all of us to keep this republic.”

Keep Our Republic (KOR) is a non-partisan, non-profit dedicated to safeguarding the pillars of American democracy. Committed to upholding the integrity of our electoral system and educating citizens on threats to our democratic values, KOR serves as a beacon of truth and transparency in an era of misinformation. Timothy Lewis, John Jones, Robert Cindrich, and Thomas Vanaskie are all members of the KOR Pennsylvania Advisory Board.

  • Timothy K. Lewis served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He was serving on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania when President George H. W. Bush elevated him to the Court of Appeals in 1992. At the time of both appointments, he was the youngest federal judge in the United States. Before being appointed to the federal bench, Judge Lewis served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and as an Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  • John E. Jones III serves as the 30th President of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He retired as chief judge of the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania. He was appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Before becoming a federal judge, Jones was a lawyer in private practice in his hometown of Pottsville, Pa.  He served several terms on the Judicial Security Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference by appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • Robert J. Cindrich was appointed by President Bill Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Previously, he served in the Army Reserve, worked as both a Public Defender and Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County. From 1978 to 1991, he was US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Thomas I. Vanaskie was appointed by President Barack Obama and served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior, he was Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.