Roy Den Hollander, a lawyer from George Washington University Law School, who described himself as an “anti-feminist” and someone who defends “men’s rights”, shot himself and is the primary suspect in the shooting of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ husband and son. The FBI has confirmed his death and the death of Salas’ son. When investigators found Hollander’s body, they also found an empty package nearby that was addressed to Judge Salas.
Hollander entered the Salas’ home in New Jersey dressed as a FedEx driver, shooting her son the moment he opened the door. The judge’s husband was also shot multiple times. After hearing screams and gunshots, Salas ran upstairs from the basement.
Salas’ husband was critically injured but is stable. According to the New Jersey Globe, Salas was unharmed in the attack.
Judge Salas was nominated to her current position in 2010 by President Obama and was the first Latina to serve as a federal district judge in New Jersey.
In his personal writings, Hollander revealed a “toxic stew” of sexist and racist bigotry, according to CNN News. Hollander had unsuccessfully filed lawsuits against night clubs and bars that offered “ladies’ nights,” saying that these nights violated the 14th Amendment. In 2011, he told the Times that “feminists have taken control over every institution in this country — they want to take control over men,” and that he would “fight them to my last dollar, last breath.”
He also challenged the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act, or as he called it, the “Female Fraud Act,” and filed lawsuits against Columbia University for its women’s studies program. Included among writings found on his website were a “Cyclopedia,” a 152-page document on anti-feminist musings and an “Evolutionarily Correct Cyclopedia,” where he discussed chilling “solutions” to what he called “political commies” and feminists.
One line reads “things begin to change when individual men start taking out those specific persons responsible for destroying their lives before committing suicide.”
Hollander had argued a case before Judge Salas where he represented a woman and her daughter attempting to register for the military’s selective service. He argued that the draft was unconstitutional because it did not allow women to register. The case asked complex questions about the treatment of women in the military. Salas sided against some of Hollander’s arguments but agreed with some as well, allowing the lawsuit to continue forward.
In June of 2019, Hollander left the case, giving it to the larger law firm Boies Schiller, saying that he “would not be able to see the case through” because he was terminally ill, according to Nick Gravante, Boies Schiller’s managing partner. Boies Schiller had known about Holladner’s anti-woman past, but felt as though this case could advance equal rights for women. Gravante says that he did not know of any anger that Hollander had for Judge Salas and did not even know why he argued the case.
On his website, Hollander wrote disparagingly about Salas in racist and sexist terms, saying that he often ran into trouble with Latina judges as they were “driven by an inferiority complex” and that Salas was “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge.” He pushed a white nationalist belief that organizations are “trying to convince America that whites, especially white males, were barbarians, and all those of a darker skin complexion were victims.”
Sources: CNN News 07/21/20; New Jersey Globe 07/21/20; New York Times 07/21/20