Merrick Garland The Attorney General That Obama Wanted For The Supreme Court And Who Can Now Put Trump In Jail

Merrick Garland, The Attorney General That Obama Wanted For The Supreme Court And Who Can Now Put Trump In Jail

When this Thursday the United States Department of Justice announced that the attorney general, Merrick Garland, would make a statement before the cameras, the White House found out from the press. She didn’t know that the normally inarticulate Garland would come out to speak that day or even what exactly he would talk about, although she could imagine it would be about the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida mansion. After the declaration, the White House did not want to comment on Garland’s announcements that he personally authorized the search and that he had asked a judge to publish the order for “the public interest” and the fact that the affected I would have told.


What has Trump done now and what does the FBI search mean in his Florida mansion

What has Trump done now and what does the FBI search mean in his Florida mansion

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It was just over three minutes of statement, sober, without raising his voice and stopping at the end to apologize for not answering the questions shouted by the journalists. Garland explained that the relevant details were in the search warrant authorized by a judge and that was finally published this Friday after another judicial authorization.

“Garland is the most restrained character to be found in public life. But that should not be confused with a lack of strength or stamina.” said David Axelrod, former adviser to Obama and founder of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago. “The extraordinary movement of today [el jueves] and the determination with which he has presented it reflects that.”

Garland, 69, born and raised in Chicago in a conservative Jewish family of Russian immigrants, timid in his ways and with little revolutionary history in his 25 years as a judge, does not usually speak in public. He does not express opinions until a case is well studied, he usually leaves prominence to his subordinates and prefers to go to the White House a little to keep the proper distance.

President Joe Biden’s team also claims it knew nothing of Monday’s search or the FBI’s earlier visit to Mar-a-Lago and the meeting with Trump’s lawyers to try to get the president to hand over documents that did not belong to him and that in the meantime better close the basement where he kept them. Distance from the White House is one of Garland’s priorities, whose election as attorney general responds to an attempt to rebuild the independence of the Justice Department and its agencies after Trump’s term.

fight partisanship

Garland has come under fire from some Democratic politicians for allegedly not daring to investigate Trump and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol Hill to avoid controversy. Undaunted, Garland has repeated his priorities for his Department for months.

“We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive. What we are avoiding is making decisions based on political criteria, on partisan criteria,” he said in a March interview. with Carrie Johnson, NPR Public Radio Court Reporter. “We start with the cases that are right in front of us with the obvious actions and we build from there… And that is the process that we will continue to build until everyone who committed criminal acts in relation to January 6 has been held accountable.”

The registry of Mar-a-Lago, mansion and golf club, responds to the theft of documentation that belongs to the National Archives and among which is material with the highest seal of top secret for national security, including information on weapons nuclear, according to the Washington Post. The search warrant details the inventory of recovered material, with 11 groups of documents classified as “top secret” and some that include information on French President Emmanuel Macron. The investigation can lead to serious charges of espionage, aid to enemy countries that endanger the security of the US, destruction of documents and obstruction of justice.

The first official news that Trump was in possession of boxes of documents that did not belong to him came from the chief archivist of the United States, who in February wrote a letter to the chairwoman of a House of Representatives government control committee explaining the months that the team of archivists, librarians and lawyers had been trying to convince the former president and his circle to hand over the material that belongs to the State and not to the current president thanks to a law approved in 1978 as part of the reforms after the Watergate network of scandals . Then, the National Archives informed the Justice Department of the situation, but the FBI conducted its investigative work secretly and discreetly, as it should be, as Garland explained in his statement on Thursday, succinct but forceful and almost pedagogical in defense. of the independence of the agents, the rule of law and the equality of citizens before the law (also the presumption of innocence, which he underlined).

His obsession since he came to office is that any political consideration can get in his way and weaken the norms and morale even more of the officials, According to an article in New York Times about Garland’s first year in office based on a dozen interviews, including one with him.

Biden chose him for similar reasons that President Barack Obama nominated him for Supreme Court Justice in 2016: his centrist track record, the respect that Republican politicians had publicly shown him, and the supposed ease with which he should be approved in the Senate confirmation process.

Obama’s choice

In 2010, Obama interviewed him for the then vacant seat on the Supreme Court, but, considering he was a candidate who could more easily garner Republican support, decided to save this option for laterfor when he faced a more divided Congress.

When in February 2016 the conservative magistrate Antonin Scalia died and Obama had to appoint another judge to replace him, he opted for Garland, but found himself with the unprecedented situation that the head of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, refused to convene the vote with the excuse that the elections were still nine months away despite the fact that there were half a dozen precedents for magistrates elected in an election year (in September 2020, when the elections were less than two months away, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and Republicans did hastily call the vote to put a conservative judge in his place.)

In 2016, Obama had chosen a Supreme Court candidate who in many ways resembled him. A figure little marked by ideology, thoughtful, serious and who also responded to the caricature that has often been made of the former president that he is a person very much in the style of “All Things Considered,” the NPR public radio show whose name translates something like “Taking All the Elements into Account,” referring to its nuanced interviews and discussions. It was someone “without a particular ideology or agenda, but with a commitment to the impartiality of justice, respect for precedent and determination to apply the law faithfully with the facts in hand,” according to Obama wrote about his ideal candidate on the SCOTUSblog, a medium specializing in information on the Supreme Court.

Garland, a Harvard Law graduate with a passion for antitrust law, began his career in the spirit of reform and the post-Watergate hold on power. As a special assistant to the attorney general in 1979, he helped draft new regulations to ensure the transparency of the administration and the independence of agencies such as the FBI and the CIA: the goal was that no president meddled in his work as Richard had done. Nixon and his predecessors.

Years later, Garland left a well-paying law firm position to return to government and worked in the 1990s with Attorney General Janet Reno investigating the Oklahoma City bombing and the attacks by Ted Kaczynski, known as Unabomber. In 1997, Garland was appointed by the Bill Clinton Administration as judge of the federal court of appeals in the city of Washington, where he spent most of his career and took decisions that sometimes the most progressive politicians did not likesuch as the denial of the right to trial in ordinary federal courts for Guantanamo detaineesand where he used to side with the security forces.



Jeffrey Toobin, a legal journalist and author of several books on the Supreme Court, wrote in March 2016 that Obama’s selection to the court reflected the then president’s “boundless faith in meritocracy.” “Obama seems to believe that any problem can be solved and that any mission can be accomplished with smart people working together to find a solution. Garland’s appointment also reveals the president’s distaste for the vulgar realities of politics,” he wrote. toobin in the new yorker. Obama could have chosen a more markedly progressive or landmark candidate because of his gender or origin to encourage the base ahead of the presidential elections that year, but he opted for the discreet white man, centrist and conventional trajectory because he preferred “technocrats to democrats.” But, as Toobin recalled, the Supreme Court was no stranger to politics and in such a polarized environment, Obama’s idea did not even serve to placate the Republicans, who then blocked the appointment “simply because they could.”

bipartisan support

Ultimately, however, Obama’s calculation that Garland would have Republican support was revealed some years later, even though that vacant seat on the Supreme Court ended up being occupied by a judge chosen by Trump who now makes up the conservative majority that has ended the protection of the right to abortion in the country.

In 2021, Garland’s appointment as attorney general was approved in the divided Senate by a vote of 70 to 30. Twenty Republicans voted forincluding McConnell and some of the party’s most extreme voices, even at a time of such polarization as the present. Some of the Republicans who have attacked him these days for the FBI record recognized his independence.

So do his colleagues at the Justice Department.

“Many career employees now say that they do not feel the pressure to openly satisfy political demands, as they did under the previous government,” according to those interviewed by the Times.

Garland says he likes his job, even though it’s very different from being a judge because you get to choose the cases to pursue and you can do something when you see abuse. “If I read something in the new yorker in the morning and it seems to me that the government is doing something wrong or the country is doing something wrong or someone needs to be protected, I can do something about it, and sometimes on the same day,” he said. an interview with him new yorker in October (and with a phrase that he usually uses, changing the name of the medium that asks him).

The underlying reasoning is something that has repeated over the years, also when he was a judge: “The great joy of being a prosecutor is that you don’t take on any case that comes through the door. You evaluate the case. You make your best judgment. You only go ahead if you believe the defendant is guilty.”



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