TPM News

John Roll, Arizona's chief federal judge, was killed in the same incident in which Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot on Saturday morning.

A federal law enforcement official first confirmed to TPM that a federal judge was shot. The U.S. Marshals Service is on the scene of the shooting, the federal official told TPM. The Marshals Service employees responded to the scene after the shooting, the official said.

WNBC reporter Jonathan Dienst confirmed Roll was killed. A statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement that Roll had been attacked.

Roll faced death threats in 2009 after presiding over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit, the Arizona Republic reported:

When Roll ruled the case could go forward, Gonzales said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats.

In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

"They said, 'We should kill him. He should be dead,' " Gonzales said.


Roll, who is the chief federal judge in Arizona, said both he and his wife were given a protection detail for about a month.

"It was unnerving and invasive. . . . By its nature it has to be," Roll said, adding that they were encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible. "It was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service."

At the end of the month, Roll said four key men had been identified as threat makers.

The Marshals Service left to him the decision to press charges but recommended against it. Roll said he had no qualms about following their advice.

The recommendation was based on the intent of those making the threats.

"I have a very strong belief that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a judicial decision," he said. "But when it comes to threats, that is an entirely different matter."


Editor's Note: This post has been updated since it was first published.

Back in June 2010, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's (D-AZ) Republican opponent Jesse Kelly had an event at which voters could shoot an assault rifle with the candidate, promoted as thus:

Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly




(Highlighted image via Blog For Arizona)

Late Update: Kelly has posted this statement on Twitter:

We are all deeply saddened by this morning's shooting. Gabrielle Giffords, the other victims, and their families are in our prayers.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released this statement on the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ):

"I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."


[TPM SLIDESHOW: Dem Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot In Arizona]

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has been shot in the head at point blank range at an event in her district.

The incident took place in the parking lot of Safeway in Tucson where Giffords was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event. The first 911 call came in at 10:11 local time, according to the Pima County sheriff's office. Those officials indicated at 3:45 ET that a total of 18 people were injured. In a 4:00 ET press conference, University Medical Center trauma surgeon Peter Rhee confirmed that they had received a total of 10 victims, including Giffords. One of the victims taken to UMC died, five of whom were in surgery and 5 of whom were in critical condition at that time.

Giffords, Rhee said, was shot once in the head "through and through" but was responding to commands and had made it through surgery. Rhee said he was optimistic that she could recover.

The deceased victim at UMC was a 9-year-old girl. The New York Times reports that the sheriff's office says that there are six dead, including the child and Chief Justice John Roll of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.

AP sources identified the gunman as identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner of Tucson, and local police said in a press conference that he had a pistol with an extended magazine. The Tucson Citizen reports that police arrested a second man and were seeking a third in connection with the investigation.

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Ah, memories. It seems like only yesterday that we were speculating on what the 112th Congress would be like. In fact, it was four days ago. But in a very short span of time, the 112th has already offered us some memorable and telling moments.

Here's a run-down of the best (so far) of the new Congress:

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Sue Lowden might not be done kicking up the dust in Nevada politics. In an interview just now with Chris Matthews, the former Nevada Senate candidate, who lost the Republican primary last year, was asked whether she might run for the Senate in 2012, if scandal-plagued incumbent Republican Sen. John Ensign were to retire. And on top of that, you might be surprised to hear what she's doing now.

"If John Ensign doesn't run, and Congressman Dean Heller decides not to throw his hat in the ring, I would think about it seriously," said Lowden.

"But you don't want to beat Heller?" Matthews asked

"I don't think I can beat Heller," Lowden said, laughing. "I mean, that's an honest answer it's a very honest answer."

What's the matter, Sue Lowden -- chicken?

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After signing the defense authorization act this afternoon, President Obama issued a signing statement calling provisions banning the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees "a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority."

The provisions ban the use of Defense Department funds to transfer Gitmo detainees to certain other countries or to the United States, including for trial.

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Perhaps chastened by all the trouble they caused, Reps. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), who cast invalid votes on the first day of the 112th Congress because they missed the formal swearing in, are sending a written apology for their gaffe to every member of the House tonight.

In the letter, the Congressmen write:

[W]e are deeply committed to fulfilling our role in our constitutional democracy by maintaining the integrity of the People's House. Our absence on the House floor during the oath of office ceremony for the 112th Congress -- while not intentional -- fell short of this standard by creating uncertainty regarding our standing in this body.


Another excerpt reads:

While we immediately took steps to rectify the situation, we understand that our error allowed the integrity of this great legislative body's proceedings to be called into question," they write. "We regret that this incident adversely affected House proceedings and apologize for any individual inconvenience our actions may have caused.

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The new year in New Hampshire, where Republicans gained majorities in both houses of the legislature, is already off to a fun start. In fact, freshman Republican state Rep. Phil Greazzo has now lodged an ethics complaint against a member of the Democratic leadership, state Rep. Mike Brunelle, alleging that Brunelle has violated the state Constitution and should be expelled for being a paid officer of an outside political organization: The Democratic Party.

As the Concord Monitor reported Thursday:

At the end of yesterday's House session, Manchester Republican Rep. Phil Greazzo publicly accused Brunelle of violating the Constitution by taking fees and acting as an advocate for the Democratic Party while filing legislation that benefited the party platform.

"He filed legislation that directly arises out of the party," Greazzo said.

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