If there were a scintilla of doubt that McConnell did the nation a great favor, that doubt should have been put to rest during Garland’s June 15, 2021, speech on “Violent Extremism and Domestic Terrorism.” The ideological purge will make Lois Lerner blush.
Mitch McConnell likes to boast, including recently, that his most consequential achievement in his Senate career was keeping Merrick Garland from filling the Scalia seat after the death of the great conservative Justice.
McConnell, with a consistency his detractors refuse to acknowledge, followed historical practice and precedent in refusing to allow the Senate to take up the Obama nomination of Garland in an election year where the party controlling the Senate (Republicans) differed from the party controlling the presidency (Democrats). The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett in 2020 was consistent with this practice, because the same party (Republicans) controlled the Senate and presidency.
In 2017, Neil Gorsuch — not Merrick Garland — filled the Scalia seat after Trump’s victory in 2016. So far, so good.
Garland now is U.S. Attorney General. If there were a scintilla of doubt that McConnell did the nation a great favor, that doubt should have been put to rest on June 15, 2021.
On that date, Garland delivered an address on “violent extremism and domestic terrorism” that reflects an ongoing weaponization of federal law enforcement and national security apparatuses in a war not just on people who pose a credible and actionable threat of violence, but on people who pose an ideological threat.
Garland made clear that he was leading an all-government effort:
I am very happy to be in the Great Hall today with representatives of the FBI, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; and with representatives of the National Security Division, Civil Rights Division, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Justice Programs.
I am pleased to announce that the Administration is today releasing the first National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Each of your components will play an important role in ensuring its success.
The National Strategy is designed to coordinate and provide a principled path for the federal government’s efforts to counter the heightened domestic terrorism threat, using all available tools. It is the culmination of an effort undertaken at the President’s direction by federal agencies all across the government – from the Justice Department to the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, Health and Human Services, and others.
Garland focused on reaching beyond crimes: “We must not only bring our federal resources to bear; we must adopt a broader, societal response to tackle the problem’s deeper roots.” Garland gave lip service to non-politicization of this effort: “espousing a hateful ideology is not unlawful. We do not investigate individuals for their First Amendment-protected activities.”
But the remainder of the speech suggested that promise would not be honored, including by enlisting Big Tech, which has well-documented ideological bias, in the effort:
The FBI reports that roughly 50 percent of our cases originate from tips and leads from law enforcement or private sector partners and private citizens, who identify potential threats and report them to the FBI or our partners.
Creating and maintaining an environment in which individuals, community groups, and others continue to come to us depends on the extent to which we can continue to merit their trust. This includes making sure that our determinations are made free from bias. So that, too, must be part of our long-term approach.
Equally important is our work with private industry and with international partners. The National Strategy emphasizes that the government should continue to enhance the domestic terrorism-related information it offers to the private sector.
The technology sector is particularly important to countering terrorist abuse of internet-based communication platforms to recruit, incite, plot attacks, and foment hatred.
Did you catch that? “Foment hatred.” Wait, didn’t he just say earlier in the speech that “hateful ideology” would not be the focus? To quote a great sage, “I’ll let you ban hate speech if you’ll let me define hate speech.” The government and Big Tech will be defining “fomenting hatred” in this all-government effort.
It’s pretty clear what is going on here. Team Obama, which weaponized the IRS against political enemies, is running the show, and the guy they wanted on the Supreme Court now is leading the charge at DOJ. Garland is a functionary in this regard, anyone Biden nominated for Attorney General would do the same. But we are much better off grappling with Merrick Garland as Attorney General for a few years, than with Merrick Garland for life on the Supreme Court. We don’t need a functionary on the Supreme Court.
This all-government effort will be abused, count on it. “Fomenting hatred” will be defined to include lawful non-leftist political opposition (as it already is on campuses). The ideological purge will make Lois Lerner blush.DONATE
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