Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
On Thursday, the Department of Justice’s lack of action on protestors at the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices and unwillingness to back down from Attorney General Merrick Garland’s well-known 2021 school board memorandum drew the anger of Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Roy peppered Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen, head of the National Security Division, with questions about the DOJ having not yet filed charges against any protestors gathered on or near the lawns of conservative justices – which is against both federal and state law – and taking, Roy said, more interest in the behavior of parents at school board meetings than in the actions of organized crime.
Roy was particularly interested in whether the Justice Department had prosecuted anyone under 18 USC 1507, the federal law that makes illegal the act of “interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence.”
“I’m not aware that there’s been a case brought under that particular statute,” Olsen replied when Roy posed the question.
As previously reported on FISM, the Republican governors of Maryland and Virginia, which are states where conservative justices live, have also announced that they would not prosecute protestors under state statutes. The truth that underpins this joint decision is that legal experts worry the state laws would not withstand judicial scrutiny, and the chance of conviction would be greater at the federal level.
There might yet be legal challenges at the federal level, which would go a long way in explaining the not-so-subtle game of hot-potato being played between the states and DOJ even as the protests have continued.
Olsen’s answer seems to have satisfied Roy’s curiosity but did little to quell the congressman’s vexation at the Justice Department. Roy changed the focus of his questioning to Garland’s October 2021 memorandum in which he alluded to violent threats to school boards nationwide.
It was a memo that seems to have come with the foreknowledge, if not at the urging of, the National School Board Association, which has since replaced its leadership and issued an apology following backlash from the bulk of its membership.
Republicans have long argued the memorandum was an open attack on parents who have begun to demand accountability from school boards over issues of transgenderism, the sexualization of children, and sexual violence on K-12 campuses.
“Which poses a greater danger to American national security: cartels or parents at school board meetings,” Roy asked.
Olsen replied, “I mean, look. In groups, violent gangs that move drugs or are involved in acts of violence are significant threats.”
When Roy pressed him for a more definitive answer, Olsen said, “I would certainly have to agree with that. I would agree that as a general proposition, being a parent myself, gangs and violent groups pose a greater threat to the American people, if that’s a serious question.”
Roy’s questioning was just the latest attempt by Republicans to force the Justice Department to walk back the Garland memorandum, but according to Olsen, the DOJ still operates under the understanding that violent threats and harassment have escalated at school board meetings.