Senator Tom Cotton eviscerated Attorney General Merrick Garland for mobilizing federal officials against concerned parents who speak out at school board meetings, expressing relief that Garland was never confirmed to the Supreme Court.
It was a swift but thorough takedown that at times appeared to leave Garland bewildered and unable to respond.
The remarks came during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
The Arkansas Republican sought to draw a link between the Justice Department’s new school board policy and a case in which a father was arrested at a board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia following a fight spurred on by accusations that the school had covered up his daughter’s alleged sexual assault.
Earlier this month, Garland distributed a memo that mobilized the FBI to address parents who ‘pose a threat’ at school board meetings.
The document, addressed to federal prosecutors and FBI Director Christopher Wray, centers attention on a purported “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to meet with U.S. Attorneys around the country to open up lines of communication about threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff. pic.twitter.com/2gIMKnQfO4
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 4, 2021
Tom Cotton Slams Merrick Garland
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Merrick Garland faced repeated attacks over the memo during his testimony, but none were quite as blistering as the short and sweet takedown by Senator Tom Cotton.
“This testimony, your directive, your performance is shameful,” Cotton said. “Thank God, you’re not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, judge.”
Garland was left wide-eyed by Cotton’s comments, trying to interject on occasion, but ultimately looking like a schoolboy being scolded by his principal.
holy shit pic.twitter.com/MRsXmbCkWQ
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) October 27, 2021
Cotton, at the onset of his questioning of Garland, mocked the “courageous directive siccing the feds on parents at school boards across America.”
In previous testimony, Garland revealed that the basis for his memo involved a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) that requested an investigation into whether or not confrontations from outraged parents regarding mask mandates or Critical Race Theory (CRT) curricula are a violation of the Patriot Act.
The group suggested that “the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
The NSBA would later backtrack on their letter.
Garland defended his office, saying that his memo to the FBI did not mention terrorism, but rather merely violent threats.
Merrick Garland’s Justice Department has catalogued 13 federal crimes for which parents could be prosecuted for speaking out at school board meetings – but Garland says he doesn’t have time to review his Department’s own plans pic.twitter.com/odA9q69np1
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 27, 2021
Yes, Thank God … And Mitch McConnell
The Political Insider previously echoed similar sentiments regarding Attorney General Merrick Garland. Senator Cotton may also want to throw some thanks in the direction of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“For all that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has failed at, making sure an extremist like Merrick Garland never set foot on the grounds of the Supreme Court was a major victory for this nation,” the Political Insider wrote.
Those comments came on the heels of the AG mobilizing the Justice Department to intervene as a means to counter a Texas abortion law that was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court.
“We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 6, 2021
While Garland is focused on ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ by parents at school board meetings, school boards apparently have free reign over what they can say or do.
A school board in Mankato, Minnesota, for example, is requiring residents to publicly state their home address, effectively doxxing themselves right off the bat, before they are allowed to speak.
Outrageous: Minnesota school board prohibits parents from criticizing individual school officials and forces public commenters to reveal their home address—exposing them to potential harassment and property damage.pic.twitter.com/UnOPIqf7fp
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 26, 2021
The president of a California school district was caught during a school board meeting earlier this week telling a parent, “F*** you.”
That outrageous response came as Lauren Roupoli, who described herself as a concerned parent, spoke to the board about the enforcement of mask mandates.
“We are vocal because we are our children’s biggest advocates,” Roupoli said.
Marlys Davidson, the board’s president, was heard on a hot mic as applause rained down on the parent for her commentary, responding with the expletive.
Los Alamitos (CA) School Board President, Marlys Davidson, didn’t realize her mic was still on and said “F*** You” to a parent sharing their concerns about vaccine and mask mandates. @dbongino @seanhannity @JackPosobiec @DonaldJTrumpJr @IngrahamAngle pic.twitter.com/BFJnFZ5tvh
— Rachel Sandoval (@thesoapypea) October 27, 2021
And who could forget when officials with the Oakley Union Elementary School Board in California were caught mocking and disparaging parents in vile ways for the crime of wanting teachers to return to the classroom during the pandemic?
“Are we alone?” Board member Kim Beede said back in February, clearly unaware that their meeting was not private. “B****, if you’re gonna call me out, I’m gonna f*** you up. Sorry, that’s just me.”
Oh my goodness… school board members in California. pic.twitter.com/WzGr8TGklM
— Brandon Robinson (@brrobinson208) February 19, 2021
Where was Garland and the FBI in responding to that outright threat of violence against parents?
You can watch Senator Tom Cotton’s questioning of Attorney General Merrick Garland in its entirety below.
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