Biden Nominee for Attorney General Merrick Garland has had a length career in public office. His service includes overseeing several high-profile domestic terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor, such as the 1994 Oklahoma City bombing, and the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing. Additionally, Garland sat as a District court judge and chief judge of the D.C. district court since 1995.
Yet despite this long experience, in the first of two days of nomination hearings beginning February 22, Garland’s evasiveness and self-admitted inability to answer any serious inquiry from Republican Senators raises questions about his fitness for the position.
When Senator Josh Hawley asked about Garland’s position on the criminality of illegal border crossings, Garland provided a rambling non-answer saying:
“I haven’t thought about that question. I just haven’t thought about that question. I think the president has made clear that we are a country with borders and with a concern about national security. I don’t know of a proposal to decriminalize but still make it unlawful to enter, I just don’t know the answer to that question. I haven’t thought about it.”
Pressured by Hawley on whether the Department of Justice will prosecute illegal border crossings, Garland called it a question of allocation of resources and offered a stammering refusal to answer.
Likewise, Garland offered a strident denunciation of the violent disruption at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, yet offered no significant criticism of Antifa or BLM violence. Perhaps most notable was Garland’s seemingly bizarre response to a question by Hawley on the months-long nightly attacks against a federal court house in Portland. Garland distinguished between the Capitol riot and the attacks on other federal property by noting the Antifa-led violence took place at night.
“Well, Senator, my own definition, which is about the same as the statutory definition, is the use of violence or threats of violence in attempt to disrupt the democratic processes. So an attack on a courthouse, while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism. An attack simply on a government property at night, or any other kind of circumstances, is a clear crime and a serious one, and should be punished. I don’t know enough about the facts of the example you’re talking about. But that’s where I draw the line. One is — both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”
Garland’s own definition is illustrative but ultimately irrelevant, and of course the statutory definition says nothing about whether a domestic terrorism incident disrupts “democratic processes” or takes place while a government facility is closed.
All that is required is that a crime of violence is committed in order to intimidate the civilian population or influence government policy by means of mass destruction or other violent crime. During the nightly attacks on the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland Antifa members engaged in arson attacks and utilized improvised explosive devices crafted out of powerful commercial-grade fireworks.
Hundreds of federal law enforcement officers were injured during the siege, including law enforcement officers who will be under Garland’s ultimate supervision.
That an attorney general nominee is unable to call out such an easy example of domestic terrorism originating from the left should be disqualifying for the position of the nation’s top law enforcement officer –who all Americans should be able to count on to enforce the law without political favor.
Of course Garland is following the lead of President Biden who on the campaign trail refused to denounce or even admit that Antifa existed, calling it simply an “idea,” and blaming attacks on the Portland federal courthouse on then President Trump’s response. Garland’s non-answers on these and other questions is less a reflection of his own intelligence and capability than it is the programmatic bias which the Biden Administration seems intent to instill within the law enforcement bureaucracy. This bias says that while some lawbreakers should be punished harshly others, particularly left-wing rioters, and illegal aliens, should face no serious impediments.
Garland’s evasiveness and willingness to quietly countenance political bias in overseeing the Department of Justice should be considered disqualifying.
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Author: Kyle Shideler
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