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Supreme Court of the United States

Senators Push Back on Use of Federal Law Enforcement to Investigate Concerned Parents

By Natalie Allen posted on:
November 15, 2021

Earlier this month, Attorney General Garland was once again in the hot seat before a congressional committee answering questions about his aggressive directive to the FBI to investigate parents voicing concerns at local school board meetings—presumably using the same federal laws employed to investigate domestic terrorism and other criminal activities.

As a reminder, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on October 21, Attorney General Garland repeatedly defended his misguided memo and failed to adequately answer several of the main problems raised by it. As a result, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 27, several senators picked up where the House left off— pressing Attorney General Garland about the execution of this directive and the chilling effect it has on the speech of concerned parents.

Regrettably, Attorney General Garland continued to stand by his harmful decision throughout the Senate hearing, despite being offered several opportunities to rescind his directive.

Now a group of senators is pushing back.

In response to the apparent lack of concern from the Department of Justice regarding this broad overreach of federal law enforcement powers, 30 senators introduced a resolution supporting the right of parents to be the leading voice in the education of their children.

Similar to ADF’s own letter to Attorney General Garland about his memo, this Senate resolution simultaneously condemns any instances of violent and abusive behavior toward school board members while rejecting the use of federal law enforcement to intimidate parents and silence their voices in their children’s education.

The resolution makes it clear: government officials and educational organizations should welcome collaboration with parents “rather than treat parents as intruders in the education of their children.”

And treating parents as intruders is just what Attorney General Garland’s memo has done. Instead of addressing legitimate criminal threats to the nation, Attorney General Garland focused on a supposed threat from parents—for which the Department of Justice hasn’t provided any evidence. In fact, when confronted by Senator Ben Sasse about the lack of data on school board violence to justify such a sweeping directive, Attorney General Garland responded, “I don’t need data.”

The reality is that Attorney General Garland’s memo has actually created a threat —to the constitutionally-protected speech of parents who wish to ask questions and voice concerns about the policies in place at their children’s schools.

ADF is proud to support this resolution asking Attorney General Garland to rescind his memo. Rescinding the memo is the only way to assure concerned parents across the country that the federal government will not infringe upon the exercise of their most basic and precious freedoms.

Natalie Allen

Natalie Allen

Legislative Communications & Initiatives Coordinator

Natalie worked as a lobbyist at the Family Foundation of Virginia and a grassroots associate at Heritage Action for America before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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