Merrick Garland Stammers His Way Through Ridiculous Explanation for DOJ's Inconsistent Prosecutions

Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP
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We’ve been covering Attorney General Merrick Garland’s less-than-stellar Wednesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I can’t imagine he’s overly enthused about the drubbing he received, compliments of GOP Senators like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. But Garland and the DOJ have plenty to answer for, not least of which is the disparate way in which they appear to be handling the prosecution of pro-life activists versus pro-abortion activists in the wake of the Dobbs decision.

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Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) had his own go ’round with Garland, one which further exposed the absence of a solid rationale for the DOJ’s eager pursuit of pro-lifers protesting abortion clinics yet tepid interest in identifying and prosecuting those behind the attacks on churches and pregnancy resource centers.

There are two things, in particular, that stand out regarding this exchange:

Sen. Lee: DOJ has announced charges against 34 individuals for blocking access to or vandalizing abortion clinics, and there have been over 81…reported attacks on pregnancy centers, 130 attacks on Catholic churches since the leak of the Dobbs decision, and only two individuals have been charged. So how do you explain this disparity…uh…by reference to anything other than politicization of what’s happening there?

Garland: The FACE Act applies equally to…uh… efforts to…um, uh…damage…uh…blockade…uh, um, um, um…clinics, whether…uh…pregnant…um, uh…resource…uh…whether they’re a pregancy resource center…uh…or whether they are an abortion center. It applies equally in both cases and we apply the law equally.

Um…I will say you are quite right — there are many prosecutions more with respect…uh…to the…um, um…blocking of the…um, um…of the abortion centers, but that is generally because they are…uh…those actions are taken in…uh…with photography at the time…um, uh…during the daylight, and…uh…seeing the person who did it is…uh…quite easy. Uh…those who are attacking the pregnancy resource centers…uh…which is…uh…a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night…um…in the dark.

We have put full resources on this….uh…we have…uh, uh…asked…uh…put…um, uh…rewards out for this…um…the Justice Department and the FBI have made…uh…outreach to Catholic…um…and other…uh, uh…organizations…um…to ask for their help in identifying the people who are doing this. Um…we will prosecute every case against a pregnancy resource center that we can make, but…um, uh…these people who are doing this are clever and are doing it in secret, and…um…I am convinced that the FBI is…uh…seek–…uh, uh…trying to find them…uh…with urgency.

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Normally, I wouldn’t include most of the “uhs” and “ums” when transcribing witness testimony. As someone who’s spoken for a living, in one fashion or another, for almost 30 years, I understand that we all fall prey to verbal crutches and filler language — often without realizing we’re doing so.

I do so here (and I omitted a few that were borderline) to highlight something: Merrick Garland’s exchange with Mike Lee is noticeably different from the exchange with Ted Cruz, which I covered here. Part of that is due to Lee directing an open-ended question to Garland and allowing him to answer (and verbally hang himself with his own rope), rather than cross-examining him. (That’s not a knock on Cruz, just a recognition that they took differing approaches.)

But it’s difficult not to conclude that Garland was quite uncomfortable with his own response here. Clearly, he had to anticipate he would be questioned about the notable inconsistency between the DOJ’s prosecution of pro-lifers and abortion activists — despite the fact that, as he rightly notes, the FACE Act applies in both instances. The question should not have caught him off guard. And yet, he stammered and bumbled his way through it like a kid presenting a book report on a book he didn’t read. This is not the response of a man who’s confident his cause is just.

Moreover, it’s rather alarming to learn that the preeminent law enforcement agency in America apparently finds itself stymied by those “clever” criminals who elect to wreak their havoc under the cover of night (as opposed to those Dumb Doras* who openly protest in daylight on behalf of unborn children), even while they openly claim responsibility for their acts. I’m a little concerned the AG’s testimony today might give some of those extra wily criminal sorts ideas about perpetrating their misdeeds after hours.

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So, I guess in order to ensure that Justice starts dispensing justice in a more even-handed fashion, pro-lifers should start protesting at abortion clinics after hours, when it’s dark out, and pro-aborts should start firebombing and tagging pregnancy resource centers and churches during daylight hours, which, fortunately for them, are increasing as we round the corner into Spring. And, if they really want to help the feds out, maybe they could take selfies while in the act and post them on line. I hear the Feebs keep a close eye on Twitter.

 

*Please note: This is sarcasm and/or how some at DOJ apparently view pro-lifers.

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