“I feel an obligation to pay back to the country that took us in,” Garland said, his voice cracking while responding to Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J.
The sentiment expressed by the nominee caused the hearing room to fall silent, as senators, aides and reporters directed their attention to Garland’s chair.
— Kevin Johnson and Christal Hayes
Merrick Garland, the nominee to become attorney general, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that the justice system doesn’t treat defendants equally because of implicit bias in how charges are pursued.
“Sadly, it is plain to me that it does not,” Garland said. “There is no question that there is disparate treatment in our justice system.”
Garland said one example is mass incarceration, with the U.S. holding 25% of the world’s jailed population despite having only 5% of the world’s population.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said there were more arrests for marijuana possession in 2019 than for all violent crime combined. Black Americans were three to four times more likely than whites to be charged, he said.
“It is shocking,” Booker said.
Garland said the figures were “definitely evidence of disparate treatment in the system,” whether conscious or unconscious of the officials pressing charges.
— Bart Jansen
Republican senators asked Merrick Garland, the attorney general nominee, whether racial justice protests, as those happened at the federal courthouse in Portland, constituted “violent extremism,” which is how he described the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Garland said he would have to look at specific incidents to determine charges. But he said he drew the line for “domestic extremism” or “terrorism” at preventing federal judges from doing their jobs during the day. Attacking a courthouse property at night would be “a serious crime,” but a different one, he said.
“That’s where I draw the line. Both are criminal,” Garland said. “But one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”
— Bart Jansen
Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland stated that both he and President Joe Biden do not support the movement of defunding the police.
He said funding and resources should be used “in alternative ways” to better address those who are “mentally ill and those who are suicidal so that police officers don’t have to do a job they are not trained for” and rather, mental health professionals can step in during those situations.
“President Biden believes in giving the resources to police departments to help them reform and gain the trust of their communities,” Garland said.
— Savannah Behrmann
Merrick Garland, the nominee to become the country’s law enforcement officer as attorney general, called the treatment of sex-trafficking suspect Jeffrey Epstein “horrendous,” but said he couldn’t comment on why the Justice Department acted the way it did.
Epstein, who died by suicide in jail, was indicted in 2019 on suspicion of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of minor girls at his homes in New York and Florida. Federal prosecutors in New York alleged that for years, Epstein paid some of his victims to recruit more underage girls.
But the charges came years after former U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta resolved a sex-crimes case through a non-prosecution deal without notifying his alleged victims. A Justice Department investigation found Acosta showed “poor judgment,” but Acosta said the review debunked allegations he cut a “sweetheart…
Read More: Merrick Garland Senate confirmation begins