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GOP Senators Write Garland, Denounce DOJ's Policing of Gender-Surgery Speech

Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 October 2022 02:18 PM EDT

Five Republican senators have written Attorney General Merrick Garland to denounce the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) policing and suppressing of speech concerning whether minors should receive experimental gender-reassignment procedures.

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sent Garland a letter dated Oct. 10.

The lawmakers demanded all communications by Garland or any other DOJ employee with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and/or Children’s Hospital Association or any of their representatives about this issue.

Those organizations wrote Garland on Oct. 3 and asked the AG to "take swift action" against those who allegedly target and threaten children’s hospitals and physicians who provide "evidence-based gender-affirming" care for minors.

"This request by advocacy organizations to have the federal government stifle critical speech on their behalf would have been unthinkable before your tenure as Attorney General," the senators' letter read. "It is important to note that violence and threats are not protected speech and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"However, parents who voice their concerns about the health and safety of their children, or express opinions on matters of public policy more generally, are engaged in core First Amendment activity."

The senators want congressional oversight and hold accountable everyone responsible for the policy.

"If there is a bedrock principle in American self-governance, it is that the federal government has no place in quashing or criminalizing civic discourse," the letter read. "The issue of how best to treat minors struggling with their gender dysphoria is the subject of ongoing and emotional debate, which Americans have a protected First Amendment right to fully engage in.

"The strength of our democracy is dependent on the ability of all citizens to peacefully participate in public debate without fear of persecution from your agency or any other."

The senators also referenced a National School Board Association (NSBA) September, 2021 letter to President Joe Biden demanding that the DOJ "target parents upset over the inclusion of critical race theory in school curriculum, mask mandates in schools, and other issues relating to the education of their children, doing so under the pretext that such parents were domestic terrorists," the senators’ letter said.

"Your actions in regard to the NSBA letter sent an inappropriate message that federal law enforcement can and will be used to aid one side of a political debate, and to either silence or chill the speech of the other," the senators’ leader to Garland read. "Now, in a remarkably similar fashion, medical associations have written to you asking you to again treat any speech critical of their position on a sensitive matter of public policy as a physical threat warranting a law enforcement response.

"We call upon you to reaffirm that you will faithfully protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans to peacefully debate this and all other policy questions, irrespective of viewpoint. The weaponization of federal law enforcement agencies like the DOJ, in order to produce preferred policy outcomes, cannot continue – our democracy depends on it."

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Five Republican senators have written Attorney General Merrick Garland to denounce the Department of Justice's (DOJ) policing and suppressing of speech concerning whether minors should receive experimental gender-reassignment procedures.
senators, cruz, ag, garland, doj, policing, speech
509
2022-18-11
Tuesday, 11 October 2022 02:18 PM
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