Sen. John Cornyn Grills AG Garland: Did You Consider the Chilling Impact Your Memo Would Have on Parents?

‘You did not apologize for your memorandum of October 4 even though The National School Board Association did’


CORNYN: "Mr. Attorney General, you’ve acknowledged that parents have a right, a constitutional right to be heard on the education of their children in public schools. Can you imagine the sort of intimidation, the sort of bullying impact that a memorandum from the Department of Justice would have and how that would chill the willingness of parents to exercise their rights under threat of federal prosecution? Did you consider the chilling impact your memorandum would have on parents exercising their constitutional rights?"
GARLAND: "The only thing this memorandum is about is violence and threats of violence. And it opens with a statement --"
CORNYN: "But my question is did you consider the chilling effect this would have on parents’ constitutional rights?"
GARLAND: "To say that the Justice Department is against violence and threats of violence --"
CORNYN: "Did you consider the chilling effect your memorandum might have on parents exercising their constitutional rights? I think you can answer that yes or no."
GARLAND: "What I considered, I wanted the memorandum to assure people that we recognize the rights of spirited debate and --"
CORNYN: "Mr. Attorney General, you’re a very intelligent and accomplished lawyer and judge. You can answer the question, did you consider --"
GARLAND: "I do not -- I do not --" [crosstalk]
CORNYN: "-- the chilling effect that this sort of threat of federal prosecution would have on parents’ exercise of their constitutional rights to be involved in their children’s education?"
GARLAND: "I don’t believe it’s reasonable to read this memorandum as chilling anyone’s rights. It’s about threats of violence. And it expressively recognizes the constitutional right to make arguments about your children’s education."

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