Can we all give Attorney General Merrick Garland a little breathing room? He has taken over a Justice Department that was made a mess by the former administration. It is going to take some time for him to try to straighten everything out, or as Washington Post puts it, right the ship to steer it in the correct direction. Garland is taking the heat over the personal information secured by the Trump DOJ, and WaPo reported that he met with senior executives from CNN, Washington Post, and New York Times last week to discuss the issue. All three outlets were assured that the DOJ would move quickly to establish standards and rules for taking such information in the future. Following that meeting, Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan said: “It was encouraging to hear the Attorney General’s commitment to the first amendment rights of all Americans,” though he went one step further. He wants a complete accounting of all actions taken against his organization. That is a fair request; however, it is going to take some time.
As WaPo reported, many Democrats are voicing their disappointment in how things are going in the Justice Department, but they are going to have to exhibit some patience. Garland is one man, and he can only do so much at one time. Sure, everyone is upset about the invasion into Adam Schiff’s and Eric Swalwell’s personal data, but just like virtually every department, all are suffering the ramifications of a Trump administration. Twenty-two House Democrats are upset that the DOJ continues to defend Trump in the defamation suit brought by Jean Carroll, and others are up in arms after learning about administration officials who tried to get the DOJ to investigate the “Big Lie.” Yes, the DOJ is likely as big a mess as every other department that suffered under the Trump administration. Because virtually no department was left untouched by that twisted “leadership,” Garland is likely not the only department leader who has a lot of work ahead. It also helps to consider who Garland is and how he handles things.
Garland was a well-respected judge, which respect derived mostly from his moderate decisions and his attempts to mediate between parties. Ronald Weich, a former assistant attorney general under President Obama, told WaPo: “It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen in bulk. Judge Garland is a very careful lawyer, and he is going to proceed very carefully.” As he should. It is easy to look at something and deem it a disaster, but it is another thing when you start digging into the problems that made it a disaster. AG Garland must be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to do the work at his own pace. One of the reasons President Biden chose Garland is because of his even keel, and that is the same way he is going to handle this job as attorney general. We must be patient and allow him to work before branding him the enemy or saying that he cannot do his job.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years