Former Attorney General Bill Barr was repeatedly criticized by Democrats for being too deferential to President Donald Trump. However, it’s unlikely these same individuals will have a problem with the President-Elect deliberately selecting an attorney general who has a track record of being “deferential to executive power.”
Merrick Garland, who was passed over for a Supreme Court appointment by a Republican-controlled Senate in 2016, has been officially nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Department of Justice as Attorney General. The move is sure to shine a light not only on his track record, but also on his relationship with federal authorities and the presidency.
Garland’s track record makes it clear he favors big government. He has given a lot of deference to regulatory agencies in the past. As an Attorney General, he would be empowered to go after those who don’t want the federal or state government to over-regulate their lives.
Garland has typically ruled in favor of labor unions at the expense of small businesses, according to Juanita Duggan, the president of the National Federation of Independent Business. At a time when small mom and pop companies are floundering due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, President-Elect Joe Biden is either showing total ignorance about how to restart the economy, or doesn’t really care about the impact that massive small business closures would have on the United States.
The AG pick’s record on individual rights is also concerning. He voted in the past to uphold an unlawful executive order limiting Second Amendment rights, and his judicial opinion in the case makes it clear that he would be pleased to chip away at the D.C. vs. Heller ruling that affirmed the right to keep and bear arms.
Garland is commonly viewed as a “moderate” Democrat for his ostensibly pro-law enforcement positions. However, his record makes it clear that he is more than happy to work with politicians and powerful unions to strip away at protections for regular citizens. The fact that, as law professor Ronald Rotunda put it, he is “deferential to executive power” is alarming. After all, Garland will take the reins at a time when the President-elect’s son Hunter is undergoing a tax probe.
However, Garland’s reluctance to stand up to authority is concerning not just because of the conflict of interest, but also because the Justice Department has a lot of power to act, or refrain from acting, under a Democrat-controlled government.
There will be no check on executive power in the Biden era.