Garland Says as Attorney General He Will Combat Domestic Extremism
Judge Garland mirrored that sentiment in his prepared remarks, which the Justice Department released late Saturday. The department was founded in the aftermath of the Civil War, he will say, and the first attorney general led a “concerted battle to protect Black voting rights from the violence of white supremacists, successfully prosecuting hundreds of cases against members of the Ku Klux Klan.”
“That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice,” Judge Garland is expected to say. “Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system.”
If confirmed as attorney general, Judge Garland will inherit a Justice Department that was deeply demoralized under President Donald J. Trump and his attorney general William P. Barr. Mr. Trump viewed the department as hostile toward him, treating it as either an enemy to be thwarted or a power to be wielded against his political enemies.
Mr. Barr’s tenure was largely shaped by the perception that he advanced the president’s personal and political agenda at the expense of the department’s independence, through actions such as undercutting its own inquiry into Russia and the Trump campaign. And his former deputies say that he was reluctant to take into account the recommendations of the department's career employees, particularly on issues of interest to Mr. Trump.
The Trump administration was also considered openly combative toward the department’s mission to defend civil rights, as it worked to curb civil rights protections for transgender people, dismantle affirmative-action-related policies in college admissions and do away with tools that people of color have used to change rules that effectively discriminate against them in housing, education and employment.