Merrick Garland has proved himself unfit for Supreme Court — but he shouldn’t be AG either
Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama died on base when Republicans refused to take it up. Now-Justice Neil Gorsuch instead filled the seat. Garland’s consolation prize: becoming President Joe Biden’s attorney general. Yet in nine short months, he’s proved not only unfit to sit on the court but unfit to serve as attorney general. Indeed, his behavior suggests he’s not qualified for any federal position.
Garland’s nomination to the court was always iffy. Libertarians thought his track record was dangerously authoritarian. The trustees of the estate of the late Justice William Brennan, for whom Garland had clerked, inexplicably sealed records having to do with Garland’s time working at the court. And though Garland was touted as a “moderate,” a straight-shooter who could cruise to an easy confirmation, he satisfied neither the Democratic left nor the Republican center.
But what Garland has demonstrated as AG is a different kind of deficit, a deficit of character and integrity. As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said to Garland in hearings this week, “Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court.”
Those hearings involved Garland’s inexplicable decision to target federal law-enforcement resources at parents who speak against critical race theory and unpopular transgender policies at school-board meetings. Garland ordered the FBI and the Department of Justice into action in response to a letter from the left-leaning National School Boards Association, which described those meetings with lurid language but scant evidence of any real threats.
There was no justification for Garland’s move, which was political thuggery at its worst. The disorder at these meetings mostly involved people shouting and talking out of turn, with the occasional scuffle. (One arrest, at a meeting of the now-notorious Loudoun County, Va., school board, involved the father of a girl raped in a bathroom by a boy in a skirt — a rape the school board attempted to cover up. The boy has since been convicted.)
None of the supposed threats raised a federal issue, despite the now-familiar claims of “domestic terrorism,” which in today’s Democratic Party lexicon means “opposition to our policies.” And if there were to be any violence, there’s no reason to think that local law enforcement couldn’t handle it.
But enforcing federal laws wasn’t the point. Intimidating political opponents were. It didn’t work, partly because the politicized Justice Department and FBI have become national laughingstocks due to their behavior over the past few years.
Parents around the country continue to resist the destructive and unpopular policies on race and gender being pushed by leftist activists. Even the NSBA faced such backlash that it had to back down. With state and local school boards across the nation canceling their memberships in the association, the group publicly retracted its letter.
Garland, however, did not retract his statement, though he pretended to care about people’s First Amendment rights in the hearings. Unimpressed, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called for Garland’s resignation. Said Hawley: “You have weaponized the FBI and the Department of Justice. It is wrong. It is unprecedented to my knowledge in the history of this country.”
Garland’s mealy-mouthed reply was that it was merely an offer of assistance, if needed, to local law enforcement, but no one with any sense believes that. His letter was, in fact, unprecedented, and it was intended to intimidate opponents and to support the Democrats’ efforts to characterize all serious political opposition as some security threat.
Reporting from The Washington Free Beacon even revealed that the Biden White House was talking to the National School Boards Association before its letter was sent, raising questions of collusion between the administration and outside “activists.”
Karol Markowicz has written that Garland and the Biden administration have taken sides in the war on parents, joining people like former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The latter thinks parents shouldn’t have the right to control their children’s education.
Garland’s thuggishness and partisanship here show him to be unfit for the Supreme Court. And even though attorneys general aren’t supposed to be completely nonpartisan — JFK appointed his brother Robert as AG, after all — they are supposed to be ethical and committed to justice. Garland has shown himself to be neither and so doesn’t deserve that job either. He should go.
Cross-posted from New York Post.
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