A former Republican lawmaker and principal author of the Patriot Act says the Biden administration’s use of federal laws to target parents protesting against COVID-19 restrictions and racial curricula during school board meetings. Confirms their worst concerns about “as tools of political coercion.”
Former Representative F. James Sensenburner., Who served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They The potential misuse of the Patriot Act was warned when legislating almost two decades ago. Now look back, sir Sensinbrenner. They say They Couldn’t imagine that it would be used for citizens’ right to freedom of expression.
The former Republican congressman said, “When discussing the Patriot Act and other federal anti-terrorism laws, neither of the two houses of Congress thought that these laws would be passed by the relevant parents at local school board meetings.” Will be opposed. ” Written In an option published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
“Yet on October 4, Mr. Garland issued a memorandum that will remain in disrepute.” Sensinbrenner. Attorney General Merck Garland wrote a memo in early October, which has angered many Republicans.
The controversy began with a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden in late September. The letter specifically cites the Patriot Act, among other legal measures, as a request for “federal assistance to prevent threats” against public school authorities by concerned parents protesting at school board meetings. As a justification.
In response, Mr Garland issued his memo, citing a “disturbing increase” in “threats of violence” against school authorities, and instructed federal law enforcement officials to take action against local school boards and administrators. Discuss strategies for dealing with threats, and open dedicated communication lines for risk reporting, assessment and response.
Mr. Garland’s memo received a quick pushback from GOP lawmakers, who said the call represents a violation of free speech against U.S. citizens.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to a letter to Mr. Garland, told the attorney general that they were concerned about the Department of Justice’s “appearance” of “controlling the speech of citizens and concerned parents.”
“We urge you to make it clear to the American public that the Department of Justice will not interfere with parents’ right to appear before school boards and will talk to teachers about their concerns, even if it is related to the corona virus.” Be it about critical education in schools, sexually explicit books in schools, or any other topic, ”the senators wrote.
He emphasized that it was “inappropriate” to use the Patriot Act or any other federal authority to “question local school boards.”
“Unless it is withdrawn immediately, the memorandum will cool free speech, undermine civil liberties, erode public confidence in federal law enforcement agencies, and divert resources from the real threat of terrorism.” And it will weaken Congress’ support for key counterterrorism laws. ” They Wrote. “All of these developments will make Americans less free, less secure and less secure.”