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Red-tape making more people see red.

There’s been an 18 percent increase in the number of threats against judges who hear Social Security disability cases this past year; at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff. Those are startling statistics. The question is: Why? And there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.

Things are getting rough out there. From the Associated Press:

One claimant in Albuquerque, N.M., called his congressman’s office to say he was going to “take his guns and shoot employees” in the Social Security hearing office. In Eugene, Ore., a man who was denied benefits said he is “ready to join the Taliban and hurt some people.” Another claimant denied benefits told a judge in Greenville, S.C., that he was a sniper in the military and “would go take care of the problem.”

“I’m not sure the number is as significant as the kind of threats being made,” said Randall Frye, a judge based in Charlotte, N.C., and the president of the judges’ union. “There seem to be more threats of serious bodily harm, not only to the judge but to the judge’s family.”

Of course, those on both sides of the political spectrum are blaming each other, but I don’t know about this one.

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