Politics Durbin invokes Jan. 6 as he defends school board letter during Garland hearing
Garland ‘can’t imagine’ labeling protesting parents ‘domestic terrorists’
Attorney General Merrick Garland testified that he “can’t imagine” the PATRIOT Act being used against protesting parents nor the Justice Department labeling rowdy school board meetings as “domestic terrorism.” © Provided by Washington Examiner Garland spoke after a National School Board Association letter last month called upon the DOJ to do just that, with the attorney general issuing a memo a few days later. Rep.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday defended a Justice Department memo asking the FBI to watch out for threats of violence against school boards and education officials as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin invoked the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol while discussing those threats.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Durbin urged his colleagues to “type ‘school board violence’ into your computer and take a look at what’s happening.”
The Illinois Democrata 30-year-old man who was arrested in his state after striking a school official at a school board meeting last month, as well as threats and assaults in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and California.
Opinion | Why Is the DOJ Going Easy on Jan. 6 Defendants?
Leniency is not necessarily a bad thing, but politically selective leniency belies the guiding principle of equal justice under law.That question is complicated to answer in the abstract, in part because of the many stages of the criminal process and the corresponding ways in which defendants can be treated comparatively well or poorly.
“These are not routine people incensed or angry. These are people who acting out their feelings in a violent manner, over and over again — the same people we see on airplanes and other places, the same people, some of whom we saw here on January 6th,” Durbin said.
Garland said the Justice Department was monitoring not only threats of violence against school boards and officials but “a rising tide of threats of violence against judges, against prosecutors, against secretaries of state,” and election officials.
Critics of the memo described it as an effort to silence parents protesting matters such as mask mandates or curricula to which they object.
In response to a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the committee, about the “polarizing” memo, Garland said the department is only concerned with “violence and threats of violence.”
Takeaways from Merrick Garland's hearing with the House Judiciary Committee
The House Judiciary Committee, known for its combativeness, had the opportunity Thursday to question Attorney General Merrick Garland for the first time since he took his perch atop the Justice Department. © Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images Attorney General Merrick Garland at the House Judiciary Committee on October 21, 2021. Republicans repeatedly battered Garland with sensational claims that the department was treating parents like "domestic terrorists" with a recent memo outlining steps DOJ was taking to address threats of violence against local school officials.
Garland also told Sen. John Cornyn peaceful protests by parents are protected by the Constitution.
“The only thing this memorandum is about is violence and threats of violence,” Garland repeated," adding he recognizes the right of "spirited debate."
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GOP wants to know why Garland involved DOJ specialized division in school protest efforts .
House Republicans are demanding answers from the Justice Department’s National Security Division in the wake of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s controversial school boards memo which was spurred by a since-withdrawn National School Boards Association letter comparing protesting parents to domestic terrorists. © Provided by Washington Examiner Rep.