During a punishing Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland over his recent memo authorizing a crackdown on parents who protest the actions of their local school boards, declaring that the nation’s top law enforcement officer should “resign in disgrace,” according to The Hill.
The heated exchange came as Cotton questioned Garland about his involvement in issuing that directive based on a letter sent to the Biden administration by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) – a communication for which that group has since apologized.
In that original letter, the advocacy group urged the administration to use federal law enforcement resources and perhaps even “domestic terrorism” laws to criminally charge parents who take issue with decisions made by their local school administrators.
Taking Garland to task over the concept of using provisions such as those contained in the Patriot Act to go after dissatisfied parents, Cotton demanded that Garland answer, “What is the [DOJ’s] National Security Division, Judge – these are the people, that are supposed to be chasing jihadists and Chinese spies. What does the National Security Division have to do with parents at school boards?
As The Federalist noted, though Garland disputed Cotton’s characterization of the memo’s intent, the senator fired back, “Why do you continue to dissemble in front of this committee that you are only talking about violence and threats of violence when your memo says harassment and intimidation?”
After protracted back-and-forth on the topic, Cotton had had enough and concluded, “This is shameful. This testimony, your directive, your performance is shameful. Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, Judge.”
Garland’s bad day did not end with Cotton’s line of questioning, however, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed the AG for politicizing the Justice Department by issuing his controversial memo without researching the substance of the claims made in the NSBA’s letter that threats or acts of violence against school board members nationwide were in fact on the rise.
“There is a difference between law and politics, and General Garland, you know the difference between law and politics,” Cruz declared, according to Fox News. “Law is based on facts. It is impartial. It is not used as a tool of political retribution. This memo was not law. This memo was politics,” the senator added.
Given the growing list of disgraceful actions pursued by Garland since taking the helm at the DOJ – including his decision to sue the state of Georgia over its duly enacted voting integrity law – there are undoubtedly countless Americans fervently hoping that he will take Cotton’s stern suggestion and step down immediately.