Sen. Ted Cruz tore into Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s highest law enforcement official of not taking action against liberal activists threatening Supreme Court justices.
Following the leak in May of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and after the ruling was issued in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, protesters marched and thronged outside the home of justices in Maryland and Virginia.
Some of the protests triggered vandalism and threats, including an alleged assassination attempt against Justice Brett Kavanaugh in June.
“In the wake of the leak of the Dobbs decision, when rioters descended on the homes of six Supreme Court justices, night after night, you did nothing. The [Justice] Department did nothing,” Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, told Mr. Garland.
“You sat on your hands and nothing,” Mr. Cruz continued. “Your failure to act to protect the safety of the justices and their families was an obvious product of political bias.”
Mr. Cruz noted that liberal activists publicly posted maps to the justices’ homes, where their kids went to school and their religious houses of worship. He further went on to note that the Justice Department has not charged a single protester with a crime.
The attorney general pushed back, saying he took the unusual step of directing the U.S. Marshals Service to ensure the safety of the Supreme Court Justices. It was the first time in history the U.S. Marshals had been assigned to protect the homes of justices.
“You asked me whether I sat on my hands, and quite the opposite I sent 70 U.S. Marshals to defend [the justices],” Mr. Garland said.
While Mr. Garland acknowledged that the Justice Department has not brought a charge under a statute that would bar threatening U.S. judges, he said the charging decisions are up to the U.S. Marshals on the scene.
Mr. Cruz countered that the Justice Department prosecutors are responsible for deciding whether to charge someone, not the U.S. Marshals.