CLC Opposes the Nomination of

Merrick Garland

January 14, 2021

The Senate Judiciary Committee

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 201510

Sent via certified mail to the above address

Sent via email to chesney_mallory@judiciary-rep.senate.gov

Dear Chairperson,

We write to request an opportunity to testify at the Committee hearing for the confirmation of the

nomination of Judge Merrick Garland as the Attorney General of the United States. The Color of

Law Center strongly opposes the nomination of Judge Garland to be Attorney General of the

United States of America and we would appreciate the opportunity to inform the Committee as

to the events we are aware of which substantiate our opposition. The information we are in

possession of demonstrates that Judge Garland would be a threat to the Civil rights of

marginalized Americans.

 

As I am sure the Committee is aware, the Attorney General serves as the head of the Department

of Justice. Being at the helm of the United States Justice System is a position which determines

policies and directives essential to the enforcement of the Constitutional rights of all Americans.

As Equal protection under the law is a constitutional right, an individual with a demonstrated

stance of neglecting to enforce this right for marginalized Americans challenges the very purpose

of the Department of Justice.

 

During his tenure as Chief Judge in the District of Columbia, Judge Garland’s role included

overseeing the investigation of judicial misconduct complaints. The applicable standard for

conducting a judicial misconduct investigation includes interviewing witnesses, reviewing

documents, and gathering any other information necessary to ascertain the validity of the

complaint. The Color of Law Center has maintained, in confidence, first hand accounts of

African American litigants who lodged judicial misconduct complaints due to discriminatory

treatment. Each litigant had their complaints disposed of with no cognizable investigation and

no action taken to rectify the referenced conduct. Garland dismissed each complaint citing that

there was no pattern of discrimination, despite the complaints allegeing similar conduct by the

same judge (Judge Richard Leon) aimed at the same group of people (African Americans). These

complaints established over-arching similarities which demonstrated the exact definition of a

pattern.

 

The Code of Conduct for the United States Judiciary requires that each member of the judiciary

“maintain and enforce high standards of conduct.” Canon 1, P. 2. Judges are not only to avoid

impropriety, they are to avoid the very “appearance of impropriety.” Canon 2, P.3. It stands to

reason that the disposition of discrimination complaints without commensurable investigation

does not promote high standards and creates an appearance of impropriety. Taking into

consideration that Judge Garland failed to uphold the code of conduct as a Judge, he cannot

reasonably be expected to uphold the Constitution as Attorney General.

 

We submit that our testimony regarding Judge Garland’s conduct as Chief Judge would provide

essential context for the consideration of his confirmation as Attorney General.

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