Attorney General Merrick Garland — perhaps to no one’s surprise — is being accused of breaking his promise to Senate Republicans that he would always remain non-political.
Garland released a highly partisan statement about voting laws over the weekend and sent a not-so-subtle message to Republicans, Fox News reported.
“One year ago today, the nation lost Congressman John Lewis. Throughout his life, Congressman Lewis fought fearlessly to ensure people’s freedom, equality, and other basic human rights. Nowhere was his impact greater than on strengthening the foundation of our democracy – the right to vote,” Garland said.
“Congressman Lewis often spoke about getting into ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’ and his ‘trouble’ got results. In 1965, he and other civil rights leaders were attacked by state troopers as they peacefully marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Their act of protest paved the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and an exponential increase in Black voter registration.
“In 2013, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision effectively eliminated the preclearance protections of the Voting Rights Act, which had proved to be one of the nation’s most effective tools for safeguarding voting rights. During the half-century it was in effect, the Justice Department relied on the preclearance provision to object to more than one thousand discriminatory voting changes. Since 2013, there has been a dramatic rise across the country in legislative efforts that make it harder for millions of citizens to vote. This increase accelerated after the 2020 elections,” the attorney general said.
“The recent further narrowing of voting protections only underscores the need for legislative action. The Department of Justice is using all the tools at its disposal to protect the voting rights of all citizens, but that is not enough. We need Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would provide the Department with important tools to protect the right to vote and to ensure that every vote is counted. There is no more fitting way to honor the profound legacy of Congressman Lewis,” he said.
Why is this such a big deal?
The U.S. Attorney General is getting using his official office to call for the passage of a partisan bill in Congress.
But during his confirmation hearing, Garland told Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that he would keep politics away from his job.
“I’m telling you what I think an attorney general ought to do — which is to look at the facts before making a decision,” he said. “I’m also telling you that I will never make a decision in the department based on politics or partisanship.”
Since then, Bidens DOJ has filed a lawsuit against Georgia for its new voting laws.
Georgia state Attorney General Chris Carr called the move “blatantly political.”
“The Justice Department is wrong: factually, legally and constitutionally. Georgia’s law clearly strengthens security, expands access, and improves transparency in our elections. Merrick Garland said he was going to depoliticize the Justice Department yet files this blatantly political lawsuit,” Carr said.
“It is disappointing for those of us who respect the rule of law because this is not a lawsuit, it is a political campaign flier. Falsely using race to scare people of color into believing their vote will not be counted is irresponsible and fundamentally wrong,” he said.