With recent revelations of President Biden’s potential mishandling of classified government documents, the media spotlight has returned to Attorney General Merrick Garland. While politicians, journalists, and blue check marks on Twitter endlessly debate the wisdom of his investigative decisions surrounding the scandal, I am compelled to highlight another Department of Justice matter deserving public examination.
On December 16th, 2022, Garland issued a memorandum to all federal prosecutors. The memo centered on charging, pleas, and sentencing in drug cases. It was not intended for public dissemination but was recently published with little attention or fanfare. I was alerted to the document by virtue of my expanding network of government whistleblower sympathizers and informants within the DOJ. Garland’s memo seeks to apply the DOJ’s latest interpretations “with particular force in drug cases” and opines how mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines produce “disproportionately severe sentences for certain defendants and perceived and actual racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”
As an experienced DOJ employee, allow me to interpret Garland’s government legalese. The Attorney General is directing DOJ prosecutors to skirt sentencing guidelines passed by both houses of the United States Congress and signed into law by an American president. Garland’s logic behind his guidance is simple. Call it woke, political correctness, intersectionality, or critical race theory. Irrespective of the label, the DOJ chieftain fully embraced radical racial ideology and concluded that the current ethnic demographic of federal prisoners serving time for past crimes should drive how prosecutors dole out sentence recommendations for future crimes.
In what universe could anyone, let alone an attorney, former federal judge, nominee for Supreme Court Justice, and current presidential cabinet member, issue such a glaringly nonsensical and bigoted directive? Grammar school civics teaches us all about equal justice under the law. Are we to believe that upon Garland’s assumption to office as AG, Lady Justice slipped off her blindfold, gazed forlornly at the skin tone of inmates within the American prison system, and concluded that the melanin levels for prisoners are a fair and just consideration for future convicted defendants? Show me the parents of a drug overdose victim who are happy when Uncle Sam recommends a shortened prison sentence to the man who fed their child a lethal dose of heroin because this drug peddler has certain skin pigmentation.
In fact, an argument can be made that enjoining leniency toward certain racial groups over others indicates a biased, racial supremacist ideology on Garland’s part. One could reasonably question if America’s chief law enforcement officer studied the racial characteristics of federal prisons and concluded that if certain races of people commit crimes at disproportionately higher levels than others, the DOJ must intercede on the excess offenders’ behalf to ensure that others who “look like them” receive more advantageous treatment in the future. If that is the case, Garland reached a prejudiced conclusion that some races of people are naturally more law-abiding than others and took it upon himself to prioritize statistical parity within the prison system ahead of following the laws he is charged to enforce.
Garland’s memo lists criteria federal prosecutors should examine before charging a defendant with possessing a quantity of illegal narcotics “necessary to trigger the mandatory minimum.” He instructs his subordinates to weigh whether a defendant has an extensive criminal history, employed violence, or possessed a weapon before determining “whether the defendant would be eligible for a sentence below a mandatory minimum term…” Additionally, prosecutors must obtain approval from a supervisor before including a mandatory minimum charge in a charging document or plea agreement.
Apart from the merits of each of these considerations, this discussion belongs at the U.S. Capitol and not within the mahogany conference rooms of DOJ offices. Returning to grammar school civics, we all learned that our bicameral legislature authors our laws while the executive branch enforces them. But in Garland’s case, a member of the executive branch and presidential cabinet member is shirking his constitutionally mandated responsibilities.
As to Garland’s wisdom, the DOJ stands to preserve law and order. This memo exemplifies the department’s willingness to depart from its mandate in the misguided and dangerous pursuit of “racial justice.” The pursuit continually fails to provide justice to crime victims and contributes to the rising tide of violent crime throughout the country. Regardless of racial identity, all Americans are less safe when criminals are not appropriately punished.
In January, House Republicans announced the formation of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The subcommittee intends to investigate alleged abuses of federal authority to silence and punish citizens and has broad latitude to subpoena and question federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The details of Garland’s December 16th memo justify scrutiny by the committee. History has proven that government inactivity can be just as damaging to a populace as active persecution. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s refusal to comport with black letter law and his efforts to subvert the will of duly elected public servants is a dereliction of duty and warrants congressional investigation.