Attorney General Merrick Garland has undercut his own promise to restore trust in the Justice Department by "doing the bidding of the radical left," such as suing to block voter ID laws and launching FBI probes of school parents, a former top agency lawyer says.
Gene Hamilton, who served as counselor to Trump-era Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, told Just the News he hoped Garland would focus the department on core law enforcement priorities and away from ideological agendas but has been sorely disappointed.
"For all of his rhetoric, and for all of his talk about returning the Department of Justice to norms and all of those other such things, Merrick Garland's Department of Justice has betrayed the trust of the American people," Hamilton said during an interview Friday on the John Solomon Reports podcast.
"This Department of Justice has just completely gone to the left, completely done the opposite of returning to norms," he added. "If that is such a thing. And they're really doing the bidding of the radical left these days.
Hamilton singled out efforts to fight voter ID laws in Georgia and Texas and Garland's memo ordering the FBI to investigate parents protesting school board policies as two examples of actions that both cut across popular opinion and would have been rejected in earlier DOJs.
He said the parents memo in particular skipped the normal checks and balances among career staff, and was driven instead by political appointees on an ideological impulse.
"There's chains of approval, and different things that usually happen when you're going to issue a memo of that significance," he explained. "But with Garland's memo, it clearly did not go through the ordinary course. It clearly was precooked, prebaked.
"And I know that in the Trump administration, that type of a thing would not have happened. There would be screams from every news organization and every entity with any ounce of credibility, calling us to task for something like that."
Hamilton, who played a central role in crafting and defending Trump administration's border policies like Remain in Mexico and ending DACA, said the Biden administration's effort to ignore federal law and allow millions of illegal aliens to enter the country may be the most consequential change inside DOJ to both security and the politics of the country.
"This is an administration that completely opposes detention, completely opposes the thought of detaining anybody, for any period of time, regardless of their matter of entry into the United States," he said.
He said a growing number of Americans believe "we need an executive branch that is actually willing to enforce the laws that are on the books, and to defend the interests of our country."
Hamilton said as long as Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, the primary resistance to the leftward drift of the Justice Department is being led by state attorneys generals who have filed dozens of lawsuits against the Biden administration.
"What's happening right now is you have brave state attorneys general who are standing up there filing lawsuits, they're trying to stop this nonsense," he said.
The DOJ's record of losing most of the early lawsuits against the Biden administration is further proof, he believes, that ideology has trumped neutral practice of the law inside the department.
States like Texas "are really doing tremendous work in trying to hold this administration accountable and have federal courts declare unlawful and enjoin these illegal practices," he said, which should result over time in "some written court rulings saying that what this administration is doing is unlawful."
But the legal checks alone are "not enough," he stressed, adding that the next Congress must conduct aggressive oversight that "holds them accountable, whether it's impeachment, whether it's meaningful oversight hearings, whatever the case may be."