Andy McCarthy: DOJ has “no jurisdiction” over school board meetings, GA memo is “dangerous nonsense”
Former Federal Attorney Andrew McCarthy says not only is the Justice Department prohibited from trying to get involved in disputes arising from school board meetings, Attorney General Merrick Garland knows it.
Garland issued a memo to Department of Justice employees earlier this week, discussing efforts to address violence, threats, and “efforts to intimidate individuals based on their opinions” related to school boards and local and state school officials. McCarthy, who worked for the department with Garland during the Clinton administration, warns that this poses a number of legal issues.
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“Garland knows this is dangerous nonsense,” McCarthy wrote in an article for the National Review. Specifically, he was referring to the free speech issues that arise when acting against people’s expressions – even threats.
To support his claim that the Attorney General himself is aware of the problem, McCarthy recalled how, during the Clinton presidency, he pushed to indict “a notorious terrorist” with soliciting acts of violence and a seditious plot on the basis of recorded statements supporting allegations that he called for bombing US military installations. Garland was a senior DOJ official at the time, and McCarthy wrote about how the agency didn’t want to trample on the First Amendment.
“I was grimly warned against the inviolable shell of free speech and the imperative to avoid ‘chilling’ speech by confusing incitement to crime with constitutionally protected rhetoric that expressed hatred of America, ”he wrote.
“Garland is well aware, as he and Clinton officials pointed out to me almost 30 years ago, that in the context of incitement, the First Amendment protects speech unless it calls unambiguously. use of force which the speaker clearly intends, in circumstances where the likelihood of violence is real and imminent, ”McCarthy added. “Even real ‘threats of violence’ do not result in action unless they reach this high threshold.”
Fox News reached out to the DOJ for comment, but they did not immediately respond.
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Freedom of speech isn’t the only reason McCarthy thinks Garland’s memo is problematic. Even though there was no First Amendment hurdle to remove, he says any criminal act of violence should be dealt with by the police.
“The DOJ has no jurisdiction here,” McCarthy said in an email to Fox News, noting that Garland had specifically said that federal authorities would work with state and local authorities and not alone.
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That’s because there are no federal laws involved, McCarthy explained in the National Review. Even if parents expressing their opposition to the school’s policies crossed the line by committing a violent act or by issuing an imminent threat of violence that could be considered criminal, he said, it would fall under the law of the ‘State.
“If I threaten to hit the president of my local school board in the nose, it is possible – depending on the severity and the imminence of the threat – that I have violated state law, but there is no no possibility that the matter is of concern. of the Department of Justice, “he wrote.