It’s become painfully obvious over the past year that the Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland has been weaponized and politicized to the point that it represents an active threat to the rule of law and the separation of powers. It’s not too much to say that Garland’s DOJ has become a threat to the republic.
Just take this past week. On Thursday, following an historic 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York law for violating state residents’ Second Amendment rights, a DOJ spokeswoman released a statement saying “we respectfully disagree” with the ruling.
The ruling is of course a great victory for the Constitution and a long-overdue vindication of New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights. The law in question had been on the books for more than a century, and made it nearly impossible for ordinary people to obtain a concealed-carry license, The unconstitutional law forced New Yorkers to prove to a municipal bureaucrat that they needed a gun for self-defense. In practice, this made it almost impossible for law-abiding citizens in New York to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.
But neither the law in question nor the Supreme Court’s decision implicates federal gun laws in any way. There is no reason for the DOJ to weigh in on the matter or express any opinion whatsoever on the ruling. Only an utterly politicized Justice Department hoping to undermine the Supreme Court’s constitutional authority and sow the seeds of nullification would issue such a statement.
BREAKING: DOJ releases statement that they "respectfully disagree" with Supreme Court's ruling on New York gun law: "The Department of Justice remains committed to saving innocent lives by enforcing and defending federal firearms laws." https://t.co/DZ7dBEjJ36 pic.twitter.com/OdFm2rdOhz— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 23, 2022
But that’s not nearly the worst thing Garland’s DOJ did this week. In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning, more than a dozen federal investigators raided the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official with the Trump administration. Why? Because Clark had the temerity to investigate claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election.
That made Clark a target for the House Democrats’ Jan. 6 committee, whose Soviet-style show trial spent a good deal of time Wednesday implying that Clark, who once oversaw 1,400 lawyers and two divisions at DOJ, is traitor who tried to overturn the results of the election.
This should come as no surprise, since the entire raison d’être of the Jan. 6 committee is to smear anyone who questioned the outcome of the election or raised concerns about its unprecedented irregularities as a coup-plotter responsible for the Jan. 6 “insurrection.” In fact, Clark’s only crime is that in a sea of attorneys who didn’t want to lift a finger to investigate the election, he looked for options and fought to uncover the truth.
Of course, he’s not the only one the DOJ targeted this week. The same day Clark’s house was raided, FBI agents raided the home of Michael McDonald, Nevada’s top GOP official.
His crime, according to the Justice Department and the Jan. 6 committee, was signing a document with five other Nevada Republican Party electors after the 2020 election signaling their support for Trump. Among the signatories of the purely symbolic document was state GOP secretary James DeGraffenreid, whom FBI agents tried but failed to find on Wednesday.
These are just a few of the people against whom the Jan. 6 committee has unleashed Garland’s Justice Department. So far, the committee has subpoenaed more than 100 lawmakers, local officials like McDonald and DeGraffenreid, internet and communications companies, Trump White House officials, and others. Make no mistake: the committee is using the DOJ as a weapon against its political enemies, and Garland is allowing it to happen.
We should have seen this coming. From the outset of his tenure, Garland has betrayed a willingness to use the DOJ as a partisan weapon. There was the raid on Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s home last November, and preceding that months of illegal spying on his organization.
Even worse, in some ways, was the unprecedented memo in October designed to threaten and silence parents whose only “crime” was to speak out about the teaching of critical race theory in schools. Garland smeared them as “domestic terrorists” and directed the Department of Justice and the FBI to “launch a series of additional efforts in the coming days designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
But this “rise in criminal conduct” was pure fiction. Garland got it from a letter sent to President Joe Biden by the National School Boards Association, which made vague and unsubstantiated claims about “threats and acts of violence” against school board members from parents opposed to critical race theory. Less than a week after the letter was sent, Garland’s memo appeared. It was a transparent ploy to get the federal government to intimidate parents into silence and suppress their First Amendment rights, which Garland was happy to do.
At every turn, Garland has shown himself hostile to the Bill of Rights and to law-abiding Americans who exercise those rights, and beholden to Democrat partisans and left-wing advocacy groups. He has brazenly allowed political influence to direct the Justice Department’s considerable powers.
If you think Garland’s DOJ isn’t a threat to the republic, then you need to start paying attention, because the weaponization of federal law enforcement under Biden and Garland is almost certainly going to get much worse.
John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.