Conservatives Urge Senate Republicans to Oppose Merrick Garland Confirmation

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland listens during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 22, 2021. (Photo by Al Drago / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Conservatives are urging Republicans in the U.S. Senate to oppose confirming Judge Merrick Garland for U.S. attorney general.

A memo signed by dozens of conservatives details the primary reasons conservatives are urging Republican senators to oppose Garland’s nomination in the upcoming floor vote. Conservatives are focusing largely on Garland refusing to explicitly condemn “disturbing comments from would-be colleagues at the Department of Justice,” specifically:

Vanita Gupta, nominated to be the associate attorney general, has asserted that any pro-life advocate is unfit for office and that Republicans seek to leave communities “at the mercy of people and institutions driven by hate, bigotry and fear of any threat to the status quo.” Garland responded by saying he regards Gupta as “a person of great integrity and a person who is dedicated to the mission of the department.”

Kristen Clarke, the nominee to head the Civil Rights Division at DOJ, has written that black people are genetically superior to white people. Garland was unable or unwilling to condemn the remarks, asserting “I do not believe . . . she is discriminatory in any sense.”

Gupta’s and Clarke’s statements, the conservative memo reads, are “clearly discriminatory and inappropriate.” They argue that Garland did not sufficiently acknowledge that fact.

“Garland’s inability to acknowledge this – and, in fact, his reflexive defense of them – raise serious questions about his judgment and how he intends to manage the equal application of the law,” conservatives said.

“We are living in a political environment where the Democratic party intends to use every lever of law and government to persecute their political opponents, and to legalize racism through the implementation of group rights. This is anathema to our nation’s founding ideals, as well as to the rule of law,” they continued, also highlighting a key moment from Garland’s confirmation hearing:

During his confirmation hearing, Garland was asked if “assaults on federal property” constituted domestic terrorism, specifically related to the repeated left-wing assaults on the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon. His answer narrowed the definition of domestic terrorism to “an attack on a courthouse while in operation,” one that tries to “prevent judges from actually deciding cases.”

Conservatives pointed out that most of the assaults took place in Portland at night and concluded that Garland’s definition “seems to suggest he is comfortable labeling those particular assaults on federal property as mere disturbances.”

Once again, they blasted what they described as Garland’s seeming inability “to draw a clear line around this type of behavior.”

The U.S. attorney general, they added, has the “solemn duty to uphold the law – which includes both its equal and impartial enforcement, as well as forceful rebuttals against the weaponization of our justice system as a vehicle for raw political power.”

“We are unconvinced of Merrick Garland’s suitability to this task. We urge Senate Republicans to oppose his nomination,” they added.

Signers include Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund; the Honorable Jim DeMint, chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute; Ron Pearson, Executive Director of the Conservative Victory Fund; Tin Macy, Chairman of Gun Owners of America; as well as former members of both Congress and Cabinet officials.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Garland out of committee on Monday 15 to 7, setting up a floor vote.

“He’s a man of extraordinary qualifications,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday. “His life has been dedicated to public service and advancing values that are vital to the Justice Department’s functioning, integrity, independence, fidelity to the rule of law, and a commitment to equal justice for all.”

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