By John Kanelis / email@example.com
Merrick Garland’s pronouncements in favor of all Americans’ right to vote was at the same time both expected and refreshing.
The U.S. attorney general said he would beef up the Justice Department’s civil rights division legal staff to ensure that all Americans who want to vote are allowed to do so. Is that a monumental policy shift? Does such a commitment constitute a break from the norm at DOJ? Of course not!
Garland spoke to the nation just the other day and declared that DOJ would examine whether states’ efforts to toughen voting laws infringes on Americans’ civil liberties or their rights to vote in light of the Voting and Civil Rights acts of 1964 and 1965.
This might seem like a no-brainer, given that the attorney general takes an oath to do what Garland has proposed doing: protecting our rights.
Except that we didn’t hear that kind of rhetoric from his immediate predecessors, former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr, both of whom are on a different kind of hot seat at the moment.
Those gentlemen were virtually silent on the issue of protecting voters’ rights while they served during the previous president’s administration.
So it is with relief that we hear Attorney General Garland pronounce in clear and unambiguous language his intention to ensure that the act he calls a fundamental right of citizenship — voting — is available to every American who desires to have his or her voice heard in this democratic process.