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Merrick Garland: There's A New Sheriff In Town


GreyhoundFan
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As it appears Merrick Garland is going to be confirmed as AG and it seems like he's ready to hit the ground running, I thought he deserved his own thread. I used the title from this Dana Milbank article for the thread title.

 

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Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, was one of those most responsible for the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, which resulted in the deaths of three police officers and the injuries of 140 others.

And now, he has the gall to claim he stands with the police.

On Monday, questioning attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, Hawley declared that a months-long increase in crime has been accompanied by “increasing calls by some activists, including members of the United States Congress, to ‘defund the police.’ ” Hawley, informing Garland that such calls send “the wrong message to law enforcement” and make them feel “under siege,” demanded Garland “tell me your position on defunding the police.”

Hawley, you’ll recall, is the guy who raised a fist of solidarity to the mob before the Capitol attack, and the guy whose home-state Kansas City Star charged that he “has blood on his hands in [the] Capitol coup attempt.”

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge, fixed a steady gaze on Hawley. “As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I,” he said. “We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.”

But Hawley didn’t want to talk about the violence against police generated by his own attempt to overturn the election. He insisted that Garland talk about “assaults on federal property in places other than Washington” — specifically, during racial-justice protests — and whether those qualify as “domestic terrorism.”

Garland was not distracted by the seditionist’s sleight of hand. He explained that using violence “to disrupt democratic processes” (as occurred in the Capitol) is domestic terrorism, while attacking a courthouse at night (as occurred in Portland) is not. “Both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”

It was a clear message to the violent white supremacists and other domestic terrorists who thrived during the Trump years, most visibly in their attack on the Capitol last month: There’s a new sheriff in town. Garland vowed that domestic terrorism “will be my first priority” as attorney general and promised to “do everything in the power of the Justice Department” to stop it.

For four years, President Donald Trump railed about “law and order” while breaking the former and undermining the latter. In Garland, we see a restoration of actual law and order. Timothy McVeigh’s prosecutor has the backing of groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police, but he’s also determined to fight discrimination, as he explained during Monday’s hearing.

“I come from a family,” Garland said, his voice breaking, “where my grandparents fled antisemitism and persecution. The country took us in — and protected us.” With difficulty, he continued: “And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back, and this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back.”

Republicans shamefully denied Garland a hearing for nearly a year after President Barack Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2016. It is testimony to the resilience of both Garland and the sorely tested institutions of government that he’s now poised to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) signaled their support on Monday.

But the lineup of questioners facing Garland made it clear how fragile the restoration of the democratic order is. On the Judiciary Committee sit three senators who supported overturning the election, and others vying to win over Trump supporters for 2024 presidential runs.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who last week fled to the Ritz Carlton in Cancún while his constituents suffered without heat and water, took another trip Monday — back in time. He quizzed Garland about Operation Fast and Furious (2009), the Internal Revenue Service “targeting” of tea-party groups (2010) and a charge that the Justice Department was “weaponizing oppo research from Hillary Clinton’s campaign” (2016).

“Are you familiar with the Steele Dossier?” inquired Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.).

Graham pronounced it “stunning” that Garland declined to denounce former FBI director James Comey.

Grassley inquired about Hunter Biden.

And Hawley thought it necessary to ask the former chief judge on the second highest court in the land if he would “resist calls to politicize the Department of Justice.”

Garland replied calmly that, after 24 years on the bench, “I’ve grown pretty immune to any kind of pressure other than the pressure to do the right thing given the facts and the law.”

Maybe Senate Republicans did Garland a favor when they robbed this good man of a Supreme Court seat, for now he’s getting a more important assignment: defending democracy itself from Hawley, Cruz and mob rule.

 

 

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"Merrick Garland finally speaks. His words were worth the wait."

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The Honorable Merrick Garland finally — at long last, after all these years — spoke. Monday morning he came to Capitol Hill and sat behind a gray-draped witness table stocked with a quartet of water bottles and his own Purell dispenser, folded his hands in front of him and faced the Senate Judiciary Committee. It had been five years since the white-haired federal judge was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, five years since a Republican-controlled Senate decided that it would simply ignore him.

To the general public, he had become known as the qualified jurist whose skills the Senate had refused to discuss, the good man who was done wrong by his elected officials, the public servant who was collateral damage in a partisan power grab. But now he was in front of the committee as President Biden’s choice for attorney general, and he was being heard.

He revealed a sharp legal mind that could explain and reassure, but balanced with a diplomat’s restraint. He talked and he talked, but he refused to criticize his predecessors. He displayed no animus about how his previous nomination had been tossed aside. He filled the room with long sentences and generous paragraphs — a rare feat when committee members are typically racing against the clock to personally pontificate.

But all that talking wasn’t really necessary. In a few words surrounding a singularly long and emotion-laden pause, he succinctly summed up his definition of justice, which is that it must be blind but it should not be heartless.

Throughout the day, Garland spoke in low tones, with a slight rasp to his voice. He was thoughtful and civil and immensely patient. He was a particular study in forbearance when he engaged with Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), who seemed incapable of grasping the definition of “implicit bias” without knotting himself up in the fear of being called a racist.

“I’m going to ask you about this concept of implicit bias,” said the sad-suited Kennedy as he sat slumped in his chair. “Does that mean I’m a racist no matter what I do or what I think? I’m a racist, but I don’t know I’m a racist?”

“The label racist is not one I would apply like that,” Garland said evenly — without a hint of are-you-a-dolt? in his voice. “Implicit bias just means every human being has biases. That’s part of what it means to be a human being. The point of examining implicit biases is to bring our conscious mind up to our unconscious mind and to know when we are behaving in a stereotyped way. Everybody has stereotypes. It’s not possible to go through life without working through stereotypes. Implicit biases are the ones we don’t recognize. That doesn’t make you a racist.”

As Democrats and Republicans posed their questions, the thrust of each side’s interrogation made clear the partisan split over what it means to put justice into practice. For most of the Republicans on the committee, justice seemed wholly defined as punishment: why certain people deserve it, how harsh it can be, why it shouldn’t be even harsher and whether Hunter Biden will get his fair share of it.

They are champions of law and order, especially when it comes to making sure that left-wing antagonists, such as those who attacked the federal courthouse in Portland last year or who brought down Confederate monuments, are punished. But they were a bit less righteous, a bit more wobbly on topics such as white supremacy within police departments and the military. The scourge of systemic racism seems to especially elude the Republicans who, on Jan. 6, voted to annul the legally cast ballots of thousands of Black and Brown citizens. These senators said they were standing up for law and order. Disenfranchisement was punishment for a made-up crime. That was their version of justice.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the strutting young politician who thrust his fist into the air in solidarity with the rioters who sought to stop the certification of the presidential election, conducted his first round of questioning leaning forward in his seat. He gave the C-SPAN audience a three-quarter frontal pose, as if he were trying to make sure his preferred side was thrust toward the camera. He twirled his pencil and let his honey-toned baritone ooze questions into the microphone, including one about whether Garland supported defunding the police. Garland said no, which was no surprise — Biden doesn’t support it either. But getting an answer wasn’t the goal. The point was in posing the question itself, which was just another way of reiterating that justice for Hawley is the equivalent of boots on the ground, sirens blaring and guns drawn.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, freshly returned from his calamitous jaunt to Cancún while his constituents were freezing to death, did not seem to have lost any of his hubris or gained any empathy. This man who, along with Hawley and Kennedy, voted to delegitimize the presidential election, proposed to measure Garland’s integrity. Would Garland rise to the ethical standard set by former attorney general William P. Barr, who once testified, with the nonchalance of someone saying they didn’t believe in the Easter Bunny, that he didn’t believe in systemic racism?

For the Republicans, justice is not something that “rolls down like waters,” it’s something that comes down like a hammer.

This was a failure that Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) aimed to make clear when he asked Garland whether he was familiar with a biblical reference to justice that advises to “act justly and to love mercy.” Much of Booker’s questioning centered around racism within the criminal justice system — the disproportionate arrests of minorities, lousy legal representation for the poor, sentencing imbalances and the issue that caused Kennedy such befuddlement, implicit bias.

Garland acknowledge these issues, the flaws in the system, the need to change. And then he told in public, the story he’d told Booker in private about why he wanted to leave a lifetime appointment on the federal bench to do this job. It’s the most reasonable question, but one that so often is never asked: Why do you want to do this?

“I come from a family where my grandparents fled antisemitism and persecution,” Garland said. And then he stopped. He sat in silence for more than a few beats. And when he resumed, his voice cracked. “The country took us in and protected us. And I feel an obligation to the country, to pay back.”

“This is the highest, best use of my one set of skills,” Garland said. “And so I want very much to be the kind of attorney general you’re saying I could be.”

And that would be one focused on protecting the rights of the greatest and the least — and even the worst. Punishment is part of the job. But it’s not the definition of justice.

 

 

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Just saw this and had to post. 

He rather rebuked Hawley

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/josh-hawley-merrick-garland-215753531.html

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Merrick Garland Subtly Rebukes Josh Hawley After Question On Supporting Police

Arthur Delaney and Igor Bobic

Mon, February 22, 2021, 3:57 PM

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) probably didn’t get the answer he was looking for when he asked Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Justice, about his stance on defunding the police.

The Missouri Republican, who led the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Congress and pumped his fist at a group of Trump supporters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, described crime surging in cities around the country and asked Garland if he supported defunding the police.

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he doesn’t support defunding the police, and neither do I,” Garland said at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Monday.

The federal appeals court judge then cited the horror Capitol Police officers experienced during the attack as a reason why he didn’t support defunding police departments. More than 140 police officers were injured during the assault on Congress on Jan. 6 and several died following the riot, which was fueled by lies about voter fraud.

“We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the bodycam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol,” Garland said.

Riot police push back a crowd of supporters of then-President Donald Trump after they stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the riot, Hawley and other Republicans have made a point of lamenting violence against police during Black Lives Matter protests last year (even though the vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful). At his impeachment trial, former President Donald Trump’s defense team frequently drew a false equivalence between the Capitol attack, which sought to overthrow American democracy, and past attacks on police in response to their killings of unarmed civilians.

Hawley also asked whether Garland considered “assaults on federal property in places other than Washington, D.C.” to be domestic terrorism, a label he recently suggested might not be appropriate for the attack on the Capitol, which he claimed Democrats are using to justify a power grab.

“The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes,” Garland said. “So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

The Trump supporters who ransacked the Capitol also sought to disrupt the democratic process, namely the certification of Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, which Hawley still says was tainted by irregularities.

Left: Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 22. Right: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) pauses while speaking during Garland's confirmation hearing. (Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images)

Garland is expected to be confirmed as the nation’s next attorney general with broad bipartisan support. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) heaped praise on the judge, calling him a “very good pick” for the post.

The reception Garland received on Monday couldn’t have been more different than in 2016, after President Barack Obama nominated him to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court. Republicans outright denied him a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, citing the presidential election later that year. Of course, they dropped the objection to election-year confirmations to the Supreme Court in late 2020 after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“It was an election year with a divided Congress,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee at the time, said in his opening statement on Monday.

“Yes, it’s true I didn’t give Judge Garland a hearing,” he added, before going to reference Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing two years later. “I also didn’t mischaracterize his record. I didn’t attack his character. I didn’t go through his high school yearbook.”

Garland, of course, was nominated two years before Kavanaugh. He also hasn’t been accused of sexual assault.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

He's been confirmed!

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Merrick Garland, a longtime federal appeals court judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court Republicans famously refused to consider, was confirmed as President Biden’s attorney general Wednesday.

Senators voted 70 to 30 to approve Garland’s nomination. He will take over a Justice Department which saw its reputation battered as President Donald Trump sought to use its power to benefit his friends and hurt his enemies, and which is overseeing several high-profile cases that could be politically perilous.

As a judge, Garland earned a reputation as a moderate consensus builder, and Biden selected him because he was viewed as someone who could restore the Justice Department’s credibility and independence from the White House on criminal matters.

He enjoyed bipartisan support in his confirmation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the vote that Garland had a “long reputation as a straight shooter and legal expert” and that his left-leaning views were “within the legal mainstream.” But the support was not unanimous. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who voted against Garland’s confirmation, said despite Garland’s reputation for integrity, he had “refused to make clear that he would stand against the politicization of the department, which we saw during the Obama-Biden years.”

Garland has vowed to make decisions on criminal matters without regard to politics, and that the agency on his watch will be dedicated to fighting discrimination and domestic terrorism. He has said his first briefing will focus on the investigation into Jan. 6 riot at the U.S.> Capitol — a sprawling, nationwide case that already has produced charges against about 300 people.

Garland will be taking office later than his recent predecessors. Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed on Feb. 8, 2017, and President Barack Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, was confirmed on Feb. 2, 2009. But their nominations were announced earlier during the presidential transition than Garland’s was.

Garland’s confirmation came with more bipartisan support than Trump’s nominees received. Sessions was confirmed in a 52-to-47 vote, and Attorney General William P. Barr was confirmed in a 54-to-45 vote. In the Obama administration, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had been confirmed in a 56-to-43 vote, and Holder was confirmed in a 75-to-21 vote.

Even before Garland was in the job, the Justice Department had been steadily rolling back policies adopted during the Trump administration and changing its position in civil cases. But with Garland in place, officials are expected to do even more.

Garland, for example, will have to craft a new criminal charging policy for the Justice Department, after Biden’s acting attorney general, Monty Wilkinson, took what he called the “interim” step of revoking the Trump-era directive that prosecutors should seek the most serious, provable charges.

Garland also probably will have to decide what posture the Justice Department will take on implementing the federal death penalty, which had been paused in the Obama administration but resumed under Trump. Garland has signaled he is open to a pause, and that it would be within Biden’s purview to order as much.

Garland also has suggested he would favor a relaxation of the department’s pursuit of marijuana cases in states where the substance is legal, and has suggested he favors again using court-enforced consent decrees to spur changes at local police departments, a tactic the Trump administration had all but abandoned. Such changes would push the department leftward and probably would draw some conservative criticism.

Obama had tapped Garland for the Supreme Court seat in 2016, although Republicans refused even to hold a hearing on the nomination, saying the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death had come too close to the election. When Trump won the election, he tapped Neil M. Gorsuch to fill the seat. Garland’s becoming attorney general will leave a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which Biden will be able to fill.

 

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Help, my eyes rolled so hard that they are stuck. Tom is such an idiot.

 

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3 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who voted against Garland’s confirmation, said despite Garland’s reputation for integrity, he had “refused to make clear that he would stand against the politicization of the department, which we saw during the Obama-Biden years

Every time I think Cruz can't get more hypocritical he digs in deeper. 

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14 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

Help, my eyes rolled so hard that they are stuck. Tom is such an idiot.

 

I try not to live in an echo chamber of the "liberal media" but I literally just cannot listen to these assholes speak for more than 20 seconds.

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This will be interesting to watch unfold. I hope Rob is right.

 

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7 hours ago, WiseGirl said:

This will be interesting to watch unfold. I hope Rob is right.

I don't see this so much as an existential challenge as routine law and order investigation - is there some law that prevents investigation of the actions of a former President while they were in power, and if so for how long after they have ceased in that role?

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And - we have an investigation of Kavanaugh's background check.

 

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Fantastic news, if Garland actually decides to investigate, and then retroactively does a proper background check into Kavanaugh. Because I would not be surprised if there are things to be found there that will throw Kavanaugh's impartiality into doubt.

In theory, could his appointment to the SC be withdrawn? Or would he need to be impeached to get rid of him?

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3 minutes ago, fraurosena said:

In theory, could his appointment to the SC be withdrawn? Or would he need to be impeached to get rid of him?

I'm not 100% sure, I haven't found anything via Dr. Google, but I am guessing it would require impeachment.

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I honestly don't think it has come up before, how to remove a Supreme Court Justice, at least not as long as I can remember.

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Hmmm how much dark money is behind frat boy? What's their end game?

 

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