Tight Security for Judge's Funeral in Tucson

When a funeral service is held in Tucson Friday for murdered federal Judge John M. Roll, judges from around the nation are expected to attend amid ultra-tight security.

“I can’t give a specific number, but there are about 100-plus judges who are coming in from all over the country, from Supreme Court justices to district judges,” said U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales, according to a report by radio station KTAR.

An extremist church in Kansas said it would not hold planned protests outside the funeral planned today for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, and Friday for Judge Roll, in a deal it made for radio airtime, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

The Westboro Baptist Church earlier had announced a protest outside the judge’s funeral because  the church thought his colleagues in the judiciary had acted against the church’s interests.

Judge Roll was shot fatally Saturday at an event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., to meet constituents; she was critically wounded, and five other people were killed.

Shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner will be tried by federal district Judge Larry Burns of San Diego, the Arizona Republic reported. All Arizona’s federal judges recused themselves from the case due to personal and professional ties with Judge Roll.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a judicial emergency exists in Arizona, where three of 12 federal judgeships are open, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some news media have reported that Judge Roll went to the Saturday event to talk to Giffords about the heavy judicial caseload in the district (see Gavel Grab).

Judge Kozinski urged swift action by the White House and Senate to fill the vacancies.

“I hate to take advantage of such a tragedy, but if this brings public attention to the pressing need of filling vacancies then that would be a welcome result,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, President Obama attended memorial services in Tucson, eulogizing the six slaying victims and offering prayers for those who were wounded, the New York Times reported. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, of Arizona, were in attendance. You can watch Obama’s remarks by clicking on the C-SPAN video above.

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