At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to new U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland outlining his priorities for the attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice. In his letter, Scott stressed the importance for the department to equally and fairly uphold the rule of law, hold China accountable and protect the constitutional rights of American citizens.
Scott’s letter is below.
Dear Attorney General Garland:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me prior to your confirmation about your priorities for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). I appreciate discussing the importance of upholding the rule of law in our nation, holding Communist China accountable and protecting the constitutional rights of American citizens.
As you begin your role as attorney general, the nation will look to you to ensure a fair and balanced approach to upholding the laws of the United States. Our laws cannot be haphazardly enforced depending on the politics of the day. I expect that you and the dedicated men and women serving at the DOJ will ensure that all agencies and officials remain in compliance with federal statutes, and that our laws will be fairly and equally applied to everyone.
Of particular concern to me is the consistent application of our immigration laws. Under the Biden administration, we have witnessed a growing humanitarian crisis on our Southern border. I want to be clear – this crisis is occurring because of the dangerous rhetoric of amnesty and open borders advocated for by President Biden. The United States is a nation built on immigration and we should continue to encourage people to live their dreams in our country – but it has to be done legally. The DOJ must take a firm and objective position on this matter: follow the law as it is written.
Additionally, Communist China continues to pose the greatest national security threat to the United States. As we discussed prior to your confirmation, the DOJ has a unique and important role to play in ensuring Communist China’s influence and economic espionage does not go unchecked. The DOJ must continue its investigation into the aggression of Communist China, paying special attention to their attacks on American research institutions through the Chinese Thousand Talents program. It is critical that DOJ uses every tool at its disposal to hold Communist China accountable to protect American interests.
As President Biden issues executive orders at a historic pace, the DOJ has an obligation to evaluate the constitutionality of these policies and protect the rights of American citizens, particularly those enshrined in the First and Second Amendments. The Supreme Court holdings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago were clear: the right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms cannot be unreasonably burdened. Similarly, we rely upon the DOJ to ensure that no American is unfairly silenced – on a college campus or elsewhere – from freely exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. It is my sincere hope and expectation that as the Biden Administration considers executive actions or other policies concerning gun control or free speech, the DOJ will perform its duty of demanding that these policies respect our most fundamental and cherished American rights.
As the attorney general of the United States, you assume an immensely powerful office charged with keeping peace and order throughout the land. I join every American in the expectation that you will properly execute these duties, protecting our American ideals and ensuring our federal, state and local governments are held to the same strict standards of upholding our nation’s laws. I hope we are able to work together to address the important issues facing American families.
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