Justice Politicized is Justice Denied | Opinion

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Merrick Garland—then chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—pledged, "I will never make a decision in the [Justice] department based on politics or partisanship." In a speech ahead of his swearing in, he further affirmed that there must "not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans."

These promises didn't last long. Since the attorney general took office, Garland's Department of Justice has engaged in one politically motivated action after another, with no end in sight.

The evidence is ample: Biden's DOJ has taken aim at a pro-life law and a redistricting plan in Texas, as well as voter integrity laws in Florida and in Georgia—three states with Republican governors. However, it declined to even open an investigation into the COVID-related deaths at nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Democratic governors ordered that infected patients be admitted alongside those most vulnerable to the virus. The DOJ didn't act, even when it came to light that then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo actively tried to cover up the fact that his policies resulted in innumerable deaths. And the DOJ has announced no active investigations into redistricting plans in states led by Democratic governors and legislatures.

When states are led by Democrats, the Department of Justice under President Biden won't act.

More evidence: several months ago, my organization, America First Legal Foundation (AFL), filed a request for investigation to the inspector general. In it, AFL outlined how key DOJ and White House officials, fearing the potential political impact of parent mobilization around school issues in the upcoming midterm elections, conspired with partisan allies to target concerned parents who attended school board meetings. In the attorney general's now-infamous October 4 Memorandum, the Biden DOJ weaponized the FBI against parents exercising their constitutional rights.

Attorney General Merrick Garland
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference at the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building on November 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. Garland announced progress in the investigation into the #REvil ransomware attacks, including the arrest of Ukrainian Yaroslav Vasinsky in Poland, the indictment of Russian national Yevgyeniy Polyanin and the seizure of $6 million in cryptocurrency. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Since the truth about the DOJ's collusion with Biden political operatives came to light, Attorney General Garland has offered a variety of explanations and excuses, but the American people are not fooled. In a letter to the attorney general, the Republican minority on the Senate Judiciary committee wrote, "By now involving the FBI's Counterterrorism Division in this effort, even if you personally believe that division would never cross a line into silencing criticism of local governments, you have given life to the idea that dissidents are synonymous with terrorists. This is a common tactic of third-world dictatorships, but it should never be FBI practice."

In addition to engaging in nakedly partisan lawsuits and misusing the FBI, the department is also flouting its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to disclose information that could be politically embarrassing or harmful to Biden administration officials and allies. According to the DOJ's own website, FOIA is "the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government." Yet it has denied AFL access to information and rights provided by the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Defense. For this reason and others, we had no choice but to sue the DOJ to require it to follow the law.

In the already long list of failures by the Biden administration, one of the most humiliating was the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Americans absolutely deserve to be "in the know" about that presidential action, which cost the lives of American service members and was an international embarrassment. But the DOJ is stonewalling our efforts.

The Civil Rights Division appears to be using the department's resources to chill lawful state efforts to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. Americans deserve to be "in the know" about this matter, too, but the DOJ refuses to provide the information we requested.

The department is required by its own regulations to expedite release of this information, but has taken the position that these are not matters of "widespread and exceptional media interest" which "affect public confidence." In other words, the administration's position is that the Garland Memo, the Afghanistan withdrawal and the assault on election integrity are not matters of public interest. This assertion is laughable.

This is the most politicized Justice Department in American history. That means either Attorney General Garland has shattered his promise to the American people, or he has no control over the political appointees and career civil servants at the DOJ. Either way, this is just the beginning, and it's the American people who will suffer from the DOJ's radical actions.

Gene P. Hamilton is the Vice-President and General Counsel of America First Legal Foundation. He previously served as Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General and Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.