Merrick Garland’s record as Attorney General of the United States has been that of a radical leftist who has politicized and weaponized the Justice Department to a degree that undermines any notion of “equal justice under law.” Repeatedly, Garland has demonstrated contempt for the Constitutional rights of Americans. He is the Attorney General who has directed the FBI to investigate parents of school children for disagreeing with government school policies, placed agents in Catholic churches, refused to examine election fraud, ruthlessly prosecuted those near the Capitol on January 6, refused to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop, pushed for abortion on demand up to birth, worked with social media to censor conservatives, raided the home of former President Trump, allowed the ATF to abuse Second Amendment rights of Americans, and the list goes on. (These and other abuses have been detailed in earlier articles in this series.)
Other than strongly worded letters, where is the Republican opposition? Part of the problem is that on March 10, 2021, Garland was confirmed by the Senate for Attorney General on a 70-30 vote. Amazingly, 20 Senate Republicans supported Garland’s confirmation: Blunt (MO), Burr (NC), Capito (WV), Cassiday (LA), Collins (ME), Cornyn (TX), Ernst (IA), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), Inhofe (OK), Johnson (WI), Lankford (OK), McConnell (KY), Moran (KA), Murkowski (AK), Portman (OH), Romney (UT), Rounds (SD), Thune (SD), and Tillis (NC).
When these 20 Republican Senators portray themselves as constitutional conservatives, they should be reminded that they voted to confirm the most lawless, Leftist Attorney General in history. And if they didn’t know who he really was, they should have known. Garland’s record had been totally exposed when President Obama thrust him on the national stage five years earlier.
On February 13, 2016, the nation’s most distinguished conservative lawyer and jurist, Antonin Scalia, was found dead in bed while visiting the ranch of a Texas millionaire in a remote location in Texas. It is not a stretch to say he was the most powerful conservative in America at the time of his death. Justice Scalia had no medical conditions and no terminal illness, and there was no reason to believe he would suffer a sudden death. Nevertheless, there was no autopsy causing even CNN to write about his “unexamined death.” The Atlantic, the leading mouthpiece of the nation’s ruling elites, was quick to label any effort to learn his cause of death a “conspiracy theory,” even though his removal from the Court could be expected to tip its balance against conservatives on scores of issues, such as abortion, gun control, federalism, and homosexual rights.
In one sense, no one could replace Justice Scalia. Making it worse was that the President of the United States at that time was no friend of conservatives. President Obama would certainly not nominate another Scalia or Thomas, but if he nominated another Breyer or Ginsburg, it would radically re-shape the Court. Who would President Obama nominate?
President Barack Obama’s selection of D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland was greeted by a wave of plaudits from the mainstream media choosing a “moderate.” The Washington Post hailed Garland’s “instinct for the middle” and “centrist reputation.” The Los Angeles Times called him “the most moderate Supreme Court nominee anyone could expect from a Democratic president…with a cautious, centrist record.” USA Today “reported,” that “Garland appears to be a safe (that is to say, centrist) choice.”
To be sure, the establishment media routinely characterizes committed leftists as “moderates,” and described all the recent far-left Democrat Supreme Court nominees in the same glowing language. For example, the New York Times lauded Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “resolutely centrist judicial style,” and Stephen Breyer as “a judge of moderate leanings.” The Washington Post said of Sonia Sotomayor, “her record is clearly that of a moderate,” and the New York Times called Elena Kagan a “pragmatic centrist.” So, the effort of trying to “sell” Garland as a “moderate” was no surprise.
veryone but 20 Senate Republicans saw through the “con-job” to portray Garland as a moderate. Juanita Duggan of the National Federation of Independent Business wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “This is the first time in the NFIB’s 73-year history that we will weigh in on a Supreme Court nominee…. In 16 major labor decisions of Judge Garland’s that we examined, he ruled 16-0 in favor of the [government].”
As to the First Amendment, Politico varied from the standard liberal media script enough to admit, “Invoking First Amendment rights has become a common vehicle for conservatives to challenge agency regulations, but Garland has shown little receptivity to that argument.” Garland never viewed the Constitution as imposing a limitation on executive branch power.
As to the Second Amendment, in 2000, Garland sided with Leftist Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno, allowing the DOJ to maintain possession of gun purchase records for six months, despite clear federal law prohibiting maintenance of a gun registry. Garland, while on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, voted in favor of the District of Columbia’s near-total handgun ban later struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).
A Wall Street Journal editorial noted that “Judge Garland’s 19-year tenure on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates a reliable vote for progressive causes.” Given that Obama trusted Garland enough to nominate him to the Supreme Court, his leftwing extremism should come as no surprise. One looks in vain for “moderates” among Obama nominations.
Garland had clerked for the far-left Justice William Brennan, who he later cited as a primary influence on his philosophy along with the infamous “living Constitution” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. His name repeatedly pops up in the administrations of far-left Democrats. He served in the Justice Department and was nominated to the D.C. Circuit by President Clinton. One looks in vain for any evidence of “moderation” in Garland’s history. Were the Senate Republicans not paying attention?
In his confirmation hearings for Attorney General, Garland refused to say whether illegal alien entry into the United States should continue to be a crime. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton noted that “when he did answer questions, he sounded more like a liberal ideologue who would embrace the radical agenda of the Democratic party’s far left base.” Also during those hearings, Garland argued that Black Lives Matter attacks on a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon might not count as domestic terrorism because they happened at night when the courts were closed. Yet 20 Republican Senators still voted to confirm Garland as Attorney General.
As Elle Purnell wrote in The Federalist, “[t]he 20 Republican Senators who voted to confirm Merrick Garland owe America an apology.” An apology would be nice, but action would be better. Now that we have a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with the power of the purse, House Republicans actually could and must act to defund the agencies and programs that Garland has politicized. Nothing less will do.