In a tense exchange Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton told Attorney General Merrick Garland, "Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court."
The remark was a swipe at Garland, who was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama in 2016. At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who was then the majority leader, declined to confirm him, arguing that such a confirmation should not take place in an election year. Neil Gorsuch was later nominated by former President Donald Trump and confirmed to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2020, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed just days before the election while McConnell was still the majority leader.
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In a heated line of questioning, Cotton asked Garland about a controversial memo directing the FBI to monitor threats of violence against school board members that Cotton equated to the "harassment and intimidation" of parents protesting aspects of school curricula.
Cotton then asked Garland about the violence that took place before he began his role.
"Have you issued a memorandum like your Oct. 4 memorandum about the Black Lives Matter riots last summer?" Cotton asked.
"In the summer of 2020?" Garland asked.
"A lot of crimes committed," Cotton interjected.
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"They were under the previous administration," said Garland, who was confirmed as attorney general in March.
Cotton then turned to a reported rape at a school in Loudoun County, Virginia, accusing Garland of condemning the victim's father for protesting the school's response.
Garland called the incident "the most horrific crime I could imagine," and he said the victim's father is protected by the First Amendment to protest.
Cotton called the response "shameful."
"Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court," Cotton said. "You should resign in disgrace, judge."
Cotton then stormed out of the hearing room.
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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin then asked Garland if he would like to continue his response.
"The memorandum is not about parents being able to object in their school boards," Garland said. "They are protected by the First Amendment as long as there are no threats of violence."
Original Location: Tom Cotton swipes at Garland: ‘Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court’
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