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February 18, 2021

ACLU writes to AG-nominee Merrick Garland urging action on "five critical issues"

The ACLU today released this notable seven-page letter directed to Attorney General-Designate Merrick Garland. Here is how it gets started:

Congratulations on your nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).  For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Your nomination comes at a moment when America faces an overdue reckoning with racial injustice that can start to be addressed with policies such as adopting a federal use-of-force standard, decriminalizing marijuana, ending mandatory minimum sentencing, and abolishing the death penalty.  We applaud President Biden’s pledge to heal our country and reform our criminal legal system, and we look forward to working with him and DOJ to advance our shared goals.

At your confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 22, we urge you to make clear that under your leadership DOJ will adopt policies to build a more racially just criminal legal system.  In addition to matters we anticipate that you already plan to address, we urge you to make clear, on-the-record commitments on five critical issues: mass incarceration; policing; COVID-19 in federal detention; the death penalty; and solitary confinement.

February 18, 2021 at 11:08 PM | Permalink


I'm very concerned about these lawmakers and them not understanding what Federal investigators and prosecutors have been doing for years. Every act that is proposed or imposed always has the "Except if a person was a manager, supervisory, leader role" Which excludes almost everyone, the Federal Gov. ALWAYS gives enhancements that do not apply to these people and it screws them for life, and eliminates any relief in the First Step act. They can't fight them because they are forced to plead guilty. Lawmakers need to wake up! Prosecutors have applied maintaining a residence because they lived in a house, no proof, no manufacturing, even no evidence of sales at the home, doesn't matter, they slap it on...this is so frustrating.

Posted by: Randy Cowan | Feb 19, 2021 2:22:12 AM

There is zero chance that Garland is going to state he will pull the death seek on Robert Bowers and that he will support pulling Dylan Roof off death row. Also zero chance Garland will support not charging 924(c) or other man mins in violent crime, violent civil rights, or terrorism cases.

Pattern and practice investigations will resume. There will be some Holder like directive on charging man mins in drug cases. DOJ will not seek to carry out the death penalty. Will work on BOP and solitary confinement reform.

Posted by: Nate G | Feb 19, 2021 12:06:46 PM

It's a shame the ACLU didn't include reforming the guidelines.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 19, 2021 1:10:11 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB