Transcribe your podcast

Let's do a quick preview of Merrick Garland confirmation hearing scheduled to kick off tomorrow, and then let's talk about why at long last we may finally have a shot at justice. Because justice matters. Hey, all, Glenn Kershner here, so I want to do one thing and one thing only in today's video, I'd like to read the short opening statement that was just released by Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, the statement he intends to deliver at the beginning of tomorrow's confirmation hearing.


It's about a two page statement.


It'll take me about five minutes to to read it, but I hope you'll stick with me, because for me at least, Judge Garland's words really resonate and reassure, you know, especially given what we as a nation have just suffered at the hands of Donald Trump and Bill Barr.


So here is Judge Garland's opening statement. It starts out.


Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member and members of the Judiciary Committee, I am honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee for attorney general. Judge Garland then goes on to thank his family members.


The president nominates the attorney general to be the lawyer, not for any individual, but for the people of the United States.


July 20 20 mark the one hundred and fifty fifth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Justice, making this a fitting time to remember the mission of the attorney general and the department. It is a fitting time to reaffirm that the role of the attorney general is to serve the rule of law and to ensure equal justice under the law. And it's a fitting time to recognize the more than one hundred and fifteen thousand career employees of the department and its law enforcement agencies and their commitment to serve the cause of justice and protect the safety of our communities.


If I am confirmed, serving as attorney general will be the culmination of a career I have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced and that the rights of all Americans are protected.


Before I became a judge almost twenty four years ago, a significant portion of my professional life was spent at the Department of Justice as a special assistant to Ben Civiletti, the last of the trio of post Watergate attorneys general, as a line assistant U.S. attorney, as a line assistant U.S. attorney, as a supervisor in the criminal division, and finally as a senior official in the deputy attorney general's office.


Many of the policies the Department of Justice developed during those years are the foundation for reaffirming the norms that will ensure the department's adherence to the rule of law, policies that protect the independence of the department from partizan influences in law enforcement investigations that strictly regulate communications with the White House, that establish guidelines for FBI domestic operations and foreign intelligence collection that ensure respectful treatment of the press that read the Freedom of Information Act generously.


That respect the professionalism of Dog's career employees, and that set out principles of federal prosecution to guide the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.


In conversations we have had before this hearing, many of you have asked why I would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as a judge.


I have told you that I love being a judge.


I have also told you that it's that that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the rule of law celebrating dogs. One hundred and fifty eighth year reminds us of the origins of the department, which was founded during reconstruction in the aftermath of the Civil War to secure the civil rights promised by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. The first attorney general appointed by President Grant to head the new department led it in 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.


Almost a century later, the Civil Rights Act of nineteen fifty seven created the department's civil rights division with the mission, quote, to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all America. INS, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society, close quote, that mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice. Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic pollution and climate change.


One hundred and fifty years after the department's founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to its mission. From nineteen ninety five to nineteen ninety seven, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government.


If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January six, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government, the critical work that critical work is but part of the broad scope of the department's responsibilities.


DOJ protects Americans from environmental degradation and the abuse of market power from fraud and corruption, from violent crime and cyber crime, and from drug trafficking and child exploitation.


And it must do all of that without without ever taking its eye off the risk of another devastating attack by foreign terrorists. The attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


I am mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with this role as attorney general.


Later, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson famously said the prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America. The prosecutor's discretion is tremendous. While prosecutors at their best are one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when they act from malice or other based motives, they are one of the worst. Jackson went on to say. The citizen's safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches the task with humility.


That was the kind of prosecutor I tried to be during my prior service in the Department of Justice. That is the spirit I tried to bring to my tenure as a federal judge. If confirmed, I promise to do my best to live up to that ideal as attorney general. You know, folks, we the American people have just suffered through the most corrupt attorney general.


The most corrupt president, the most corrupt presidential administration in our nation's history, but better days are coming. Justice is coming. And justice matters.