Has the U.S. Department of Justice ever not been politicized to one extent or another? The answer is almost certainly no. That does not make it right, of course. Neither is it likely to lessen the outrage many Americans feel toward the current partisanship displayed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and who knows how many senior and not-so-senior officials within his department.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 27, Garland continued his attempts to dodge accusations that he directed the DOJ to pursue and investigate angry parents for purely political reasons. As Liberty Nation has previously observed, it could not be mere coincidence that, just days after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the White House, implying that parents who voiced opposition to school boards’ policies were domestic terrorists, Garland issued an internal memo flagging these protests as “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and staff.”
Cruzin’ for a Bruising
During the Wednesday hearing, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) took the AG to task for the memo, which Garland admits was prompted by the NSBA letter and some uncited media reports. After accusing Garland of breaking his commitment not to use the DOJ as a political weapon, Cruz said:
“There’s a difference between law and politics – and, General Garland, you know the difference between law and politics. Law is based on facts. It is impartial. It is not used as a tool of political retribution. This memo was not law; this memo was politics.”
Garland wasn’t asked to detail what he had described as “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence.” One would assume harassment of public officials entails protesting outside their homes or following them into public restrooms or berating them in restaurants. All of these things have been done by left-wing activists with not so much as an eyebrow raised at the Justice Department.
By contrast, parents outraged over mask mandates and the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools have done none of these things. Indeed, the most violent incident to have occurred at a school board meeting in recent weeks appeared to have been instigated by Loudoun, VA County Sheriff’s deputies, who wrestled to the ground a father who was angry that the alleged rape of his daughter in her school’s “gender-neutral” bathroom had been covered up by the school board. Interestingly, the NSBA letter cited, as an example of parents’ violent behavior, the arrest of this father.
Other media reports from across the country do describe minor incidents involving parents and school board officials but these were handled by local law enforcement agencies – as they should have been.
First Amendment Rights Threatened
Garland’s intervention in these local matters can be interpreted as either DOJ overreach or an attempt to intimidate parents into staying away from school board meetings altogether and remaining silent about conditions in public schools and the subject matter being taught to their children. The latter explanation seems the most likely since the Justice Department, to public knowledge, is not actively investigating any parents. The mere threat of it, though, appears designed to deter people from speaking up.
Once again, a congressional hearing achieved precisely nothing except raising awareness among the American people that the current administration appears entirely out of control. Will the AG get the message, coming clearly from certain GOP lawmakers, that he is stepping over the line? It seems unlikely.
~ Read more from Graham J. Noble.