By: Andrew C. McCarthy – nationalreview.com – May 19, 2022
Finally, the attorney general of the United States has bestirred himself into a righteous rant about the lawless protests at the homes of Supreme Court justices over the leaked draft opinion in the Dobbs abortion case. Now, the question is: Will the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer get around to, you know, enforcing the law?
It is all well and good that Merrick Garland, after taking two weeks to find his voice, has condemned threats against the justices — i.e., against Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as at least some of the justices identified in reporting as joining a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito (specifically, Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil
The draft opinion, if it or something like it became the Court’s final ruling, would overturn Roe v. Wade’s legally indefensible judicial decree of a constitutional right to abortion. As Democrats never tire of not mentioning, this would not end abortion in the United States. It would merely return the matter to the democratic process that progressives claim to champion (except when they don’t) — such that Americans, through their elected representatives, would have the opportunity to regulate abortion as they choose (which should delight progressives if abortion is truly as wildly popular as they insist it is).
On Wednesday, Garland inveighed that “the rise of violence and unlawful threats of violence directed at those who serve the public is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” Yes, well, he ought to know — and he ought to have known the second the threats on the justices started over two weeks ago. Prior to being appointed attorney general, Garland was a judge of the distinguished D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for over two decades — indeed, he was once nominated to sit on the Supreme Court. He knows as well as anyone who has ever occupied the attorney general’s office that the judiciary is supposed to be insulated from political pressure in our system, deciding cases in accordance with law and logic, not fear of the mob.
The AG is reported to have met with the marshal of the Court who is responsible for the security of the justices. Following that consultation, he vowed to “take all appropriate actions to further enhance the security of justices and the court.”
Respectfully, I have a suggestion: How about not talking about taking appropriate measures, but rather actually taking appropriate measures. Garland is the chief federal law-enforcement officer. Federal law unambiguously makes it a crime to protest at the residence of federal judges — statutorily referred to as “picketing or parading.” There is a ton of video of people demonstrating outside the justices’ homes. Why doesn’t the Justice Department do what Garland claims to be committed to doing? Why don’t they arrest and prosecute the demonstrators?
They don’t do it because the AG, for all his bloviating, is hewing to the Biden administration’s false political claim that the protests are appropriate as long as they remain peaceful. Garland, more than anyone, knows this is nonsense. Not all peaceful protest is lawful. Picketing and parading are forms of political pressure. It is a crime to put that kind of pressure on participants in a judicial proceeding — which is what Dobbs formally is — in the manner that Congress has prescribed.
Do you know how else we can be certain that this is not news to Merrick Garland? As I write this, his Justice Department is prosecuting hundreds of people for merely parading at the Capitol on January 6. I am not talking now about the hundreds of people who are being prosecuted for more serious crimes because they used and plotted to use force in the riot. I am talking about protesters of whom there is no evidence that they did anything violent.
In those cases, Garland and the Biden administration haven’t blathered about the supposed sanctity of peaceful protest. They had the FBI get search warrants for cell-site data from telecommunications service providers so they could hunt down every single parader they could identify. They dragged them back to Washington, often from hundreds if not thousands of miles away, so they could face misdemeanor charges.
When it comes to the Democrats’ determination to hype January 6 as an Insurrection™, the Biden administration doesn’t want to hear about “peaceful protest.” Garland & Co. decided that in that context, peaceful protest, on the restricted federal grounds in a manner that obstructed a congressional proceeding, was unacceptable and warranted prosecution.
Well, why is it different with the justices? Do we have to wait until something truly awful happens before the Justice Department will act?
It’s nice that Attorney General Garland has awakened from his slumbers. Now, how about he does his job, rather than just talking about doing his job? You want to protect the justices? Then enforce the law.
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