Garland Pledges To Combat Domestic Extremism, Ensure Equal Justice
The Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Merrick Garland to become the next U.S. attorney general begins Monday morning and as is customary his opening statement to the Judiciary Committee has been released. In it, he pledges to combat resurgent domestic extremism and restore the Justice Department’s commitment to equal justice under the law.
Garland also said he will work to bolster the morale of the department’s more than 115,000 career employees, who were under almost constant attack during the four years of the Donald Trump presidency and the tenure of Bill Barr as attorney general.
In his prepared remarks, the judge notes that the DOJ, founded in the aftermath of the Civil War, engaged in a “concerted battle to protect Black voting rights from the violence of white supremacists, successfully prosecuting hundreds of cases against members of the Ku Klux Klan. That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice. Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system.”
If confirmed, Garland will take over a department that must confront the growing threat from far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, neo-Nazis and adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, all of which were emboldened during Trump’s presidency.
Garland notes, “One-hundred and fifty years after the department’s founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to its mission.”
Several law enforcement and civil rights groups have written letters in support of his nomination. He is expected to draw backing from Republicans and Democrats alike.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police said in letters submitted to the Judiciary Committee that they saw Judge Garland as a leader who respected the work of the police.