Should we believe Merrick Garland or our own eyes?

I don’t consider Merrick Garland a moderate liberal, and I don’t think he came across as one during his confirmation hearing yesterday. He couldn’t even bring himself to say that illegally entering the U.S. should be a crime.

I consider Garland a front man for the radicalization and politicization of the Department of Justice. As Julie Kelly puts it, “he’ll be a figurehead [like Robert Mueller] and Weismann-type prosecutors will run the show.”

Two of those who, if confirmed, will run the show are Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke. Gupta is Joe Biden’s nominee for Associate Attorney General. Clarke is his nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee asked Garland about these two. Garland dutifully vouched for them on the basis of having “gotten to know them.” The question is: What else could he say? Also: Whom should we believe, Merrick Garland or our lying eyes?

On Gupta:

Lee: I’m going to start with some questions that can be yes or no. . . . Do you believe individuals who advocate for the rights of unborn human beings are rendered unfit for public office by virtue of having engaged in such advocacy?”

Garland: No.

Lee: Do you believe that efforts to purge voter rolls of individuals who have either died or have left the state in question or to require voter identification are racially discriminatory and an assault on voting rights?

Garland: This one is one I can’t answer yes or no because you’re asking about motivations of individuals, some of whom may have discriminatory purpose and some of whom have no discriminatory purpose.

Lee: Okay. Okay, I think that answers my question there because I guess what I’m asking is does an individual without knowing more than that, is there anything about those comments or support for those positions that in and of themselves would make that person a racist or an assault on voting rights?

Garland: Again, there’s nothing about the comment itself but there’s such a thing as circumstantial evidence obviously and if there’s enormously disparate impact of things that somebody continues to propose, it’s not unreasonable to draw conclusions from that. The mere fact of the statement, no.

Lee: Do you believe Republicans in the United States, and by Republicans I mean as a whole, are determined to leave our communities to the mercy of people and institutions driven by hate, bigotry and fear of any threat to the status quo.

Garland: I don’t make generalizations about members of political parties; I would never do that.

Lee: I appreciate that and wouldn’t expect otherwise. The reason I raise these ones is these are questions that have been drawn from comments made by Vanita Gupta, who’s been nominated to be the associate attorney general, has advocated for each of these positions.

Garland: Well, Senator, I know Vanita Gupta now quite well; I didn’t know her before, but since the nomination, I’ve gotten a chance to talk with her and speak with her. I have to tell you, I regard her as a person of great integrity and a person who is dedicated to the mission of the department and particularly equal justice under law.

Lee: I’m not asking you to weigh in on her as a person; I’m just talking about the comments.

(Emphasis added)

On Clarke:

Lee: Would an individual’s past statements, statements in the past, as an adult, declaring that one racial group is superior to another, would statements like that be relevant to an evaluation of whether such a person should be put in charge of running the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division?

Garland: Well, Senator, I read in the last few days these allegations about Kristen Clarke, who I’ve also gotten to know, who I also trust, who I believe is a person of integrity, whose views of the Civil Rights division I have discussed with her, and they are in line with my own. I have every reason to want her; she is an experienced former line prosecutor of hate crimes and we need somebody like that to be running the —

Lee: I’m asking about the statement; I’m not asking about her as a person; I’m asking about the statement. In the abstract, would someone who has made that comment, would that comment itself be relevant to the question whether that person, having made that statement, should be put in charge of running the Civil Rights division?

Garland: All I can tell you is I’ve had many conversations with her about her views about the Civil Rights division and what kind of matter she would investigate

Lee: What about anti-Semitic comments, would those be relevant to someone wanting to run the Civil Rights division?

Garland; You know my views about anti-Semitism; no one needs to question those.

Lee: I’m not questioning your—

Garland: I know you’re not, but I want you to know I’m a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is, and I do not believe that she is an anti-Semite and I do not believe she is discriminatory in any sense.

Lee: Tell me this: Judge, you are a man of integrity and one who honors and respects the laws. What assurances can you give us, as one who has been nominated to serve as the Attorney General of the United States, that you, as confirmed as Attorney General of the United States, what assurances can you give Americans who are Republican, who are pro-life, who are religious people who are members of certain minority groups, in short, half, or more than half of the country, telling them that the U.S. Department of Justice, if you’re confirmed, will protect them if Department of Justice leaders have condoned radical positions like those ones that I’ve described?

Garland: I’ll say it again: I don’t believe that either Vanita or Kristen condone those positions and I have complete faith in them, but we are a leadership team, along with Alisa Monaco that will run the Department, and the final decision is mine. The buck stops with me, as Harry Truman said, I will assure the people you’re talking about I am a strong believer in religious liberty and there will not be any discrimination under my watch.

(Emphasis added)

It’s important to note that Garland did not select either Gupta or Clarke for the positions in question. He got to “know” them only after they had been picked by Team Biden. And clearly, he had no choice but to vouch for them at his confirmation hearing.

But even if Garland was giving his honest opinions of the two based on his conversations with them, these opinions count for next to nothing.

Garland may be a decent guy and a competent court of appeals judge, but he’s not a seer. Gupta and Clarke weren’t going to confess to him their raw hatred of Republicans, their most extreme political views, or any strands of anti-Semitism and Black supremacy in their thinking.

But Gupta’s intemperate comments about her political opponents, which approach those of Neera Tanden in their venom, are there, in writing, for all to see. So is Clarke’s history of advocating Black supremacy and promoting anti-Semitism. So is her unwavering support for racial discrimination against Whites.

The Senate should confirm Merrick Garland. He’s the nominee for Attorney General one would expect in a Democratic administration — nothing better, nothing worse.

The Senate should not confirm Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke. The public record, from which Sen. Lee’s questions were drawn, shows them to be nasty extremists committed to key elements of the radical BLM agenda — whatever Garland’s true impression of them might be.

Even in a Democratic administration, we should expect, and demand, better.

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