Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System
It was every father’s nightmare. Your fourteen-year-old daughter, your little girl, being sexually assaulted at school. In the girls’ bathroom. By a boy wearing a skirt.
Horrific. But in any sane environment, the consequences would have been swift. The boy would have been prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned. The criminal justice system would have worked, if not as a deterrent, then at least as a punishment.
But Loudoun County, Virginia, was no longer a sane environment. Here, a group of left-wing ideologues had taken over the local public school system, turning their town into the kind of woke experiment that was being replicated in radical school districts across the United States. When the school board got word of this horrible assault, they covered it up, refusing to prosecute the boy. Instead, they transferred him to another school, where, to the surprise of nobody rational, he assaulted yet another young girl.
Why did the system fail? We know why. Because the crime was inconvenient for the prevailing political narrative. That narrative—the one that says gender doesn’t exist, and that children can switch between male and female at will—was more important to these zealots than the physical safety of the children in the care of Loudoun County Public Schools. Boys dressed as girls never—never!—commit sexual assaults. And they certainly don’t commit them in the girls’ bathroom, a place that the new leftist elite insisted should be available to anyone who “identified” as a girl. It didn’t matter if the person in question had just begun identifying as a girl yesterday, or even if he still had a beard and male reproductive organs.
The father of the first girl assaulted, a plumber named Scott Smith, was devastated and outraged. You would be, too, if the same thing happened to your daughter or the daughter of someone you love. Shortly after the incident, Smith went to his daughter’s school to try to make sure justice was served. When he got there, he found out that the school’s principal had no intention of taking disciplinary action against the boy or even of calling the police. This, understandably, outraged Smith even further.
By the end of that day, the police were finally called to the school. But not to arrest the boy who had sexually violated Smith’s daughter. Rather, the police were called on Scott Smith himself. The school’s principal called the police, according to an excellent investigative report on the incident published in the Daily Wire, because he was “making a scene” about his daughter’s assault.1
As the weeks went on, anger about various policies in Loudoun County grew. Aside from rumors about the sexual assault of Smith’s daughter, parents had recently learned that much of what their children were being taught in school was absolute nonsense. During the pandemic, when Loudoun County kids were forced to learn remotely, many of their parents had peered over their shoulders to see lessons on white guilt, systemic racism, and gender studies on the screens of their iPads and laptops. During a few contentious school board meetings, many of these parents had made their concerns known, leading to several high-profile arguments in public. The next meeting, Smith learned, would be held on June 22.
During the meeting, the school board was in full defense mode. The board members knew that parents were concerned about the school’s open-door bathroom policy and the potential for sexual assaults that came with it. They also knew that these fears had been realized just a few weeks earlier, when Smith’s daughter had been assaulted. But as the concerned parents came to the microphone (more than 250 had signed up to speak that day), the members of the school board lied about the incident time and time again.
When Beth Barts, a school board member who had clashed with Loudoun County parents in the past, had the chance to address these serious concerns, she dismissed them, almost mocking anyone who would be concerned about such things.
“Our students do not need to be protected,” she said. “They are not in danger.”
Turning to another member of the school board, she asked whether assaults occurred in bathrooms and locker rooms.
“To my knowledge,” interjected Scott Ziegler, the superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
This was a lie, as Ziegler knew and had admitted in an email to the board members on the day of Smith’s daughter’s assault.2 Perhaps that is why he quoted Time magazine for the rest of his answer. The magazine had printed a report the previous year claiming that “the data was simply not playing out that transgender students were more likely to assault cisgender students in restrooms.” Ziegler then went on to say that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.”
Of course, Ziegler knew full well that at least one “predatory transgender student” did, in fact, exist, and that the school board was protecting him (or her, or them, or xim, or xer). Scott Smith, who sat in the audience that evening with his wife, Jess, knew it too.
For the next hour or so, parents from both sides of the cultural divide took to the microphone and made speeches. Some parents demanded to know exactly how many of these assaults had occurred; others screamed wildly that anyone who raised such concerns was a bigot, a sexist, and a racist, too.
All the while, Scott Smith sat quietly, knowing that if the school board had its way, the story of what had happened to his daughter would soon be buried to serve a dishonest woke narrative. At some point during the commotion, a woman came up to him and said hello. She wore a rainbow t-shirt. Smith’s wife said she recognized her, and even believed they were friends. When this woman, who would later turn out to be a fierce left-wing ideologue, asked why the Smiths had come to the meeting, they told her what had happened to their daughter: the assault, the cover-up, and all the details in between.
The woman grew upset, even angry. Through gritted teeth, she said, “That’s not what happened.”
This, apparently, was the breaking point for Scott Smith, and understandably so. For weeks, he’d been hearing that what had happened to his daughter was not only not a big deal, but that it hadn’t actually occurred at all. For a moment, Smith raised his voice and grew agitated. The woman looked at his t-shirt, which advertised his plumbing business, and declared that she was going to “ruin the business on social media.”
Smith argued back at her, although not for long.
Before he knew what was happening, Smith felt his arm being jerked by a police officer who’d been watching the exchange from the far side of the room. Alarmed, Smith yanked his hand away, and the officer came at him with his full weight. Soon, they were wrestling on the ground, and the whole thing was being filmed by cameras. Images of Smith, his pants half down and his t-shirt up pulled up over his stomach, would soon go out to millions of people on news networks all over the world. It was just one more in a line of horrible indignities that he had been forced to endure.
While her husband was being tackled and thrown to the ground, Jess Smith yelled out, “My child was raped at school, and this is what happens!”
Sadly, almost no one could hear her amid the clamor that ensued after her husband was assaulted. Instead, they watched as her husband, who had come to the school board meeting simply to listen to the people who were covering up his daughter’s sexual assault, was again treated like a criminal by the police force of Loudoun County. All the while, the boy who had raped their daughter was walking free, preparing to assault another young girl at his new school.
In the following days, the image of Smith being tackled by police became emblematic of a war that had raged for a long time—a war between parents who demanded to know exactly what was going on at their children’s schools and arrogant school officials, nearly all of whom had been indoctrinated by woke ideology, who attempted to hide it from them. Across the country, elected Democrats on school boards were facing thousands of enraged parents on a host of issues: sexual assaults on campus, woke bathroom policies, Critical Race Theory, and more. These parents were angry, and rightfully so.
In a democratic system, when people are angry, elected officials are supposed to listen. These elected officials don’t always have to agree on the substance—that’s why we have elections—but the First Amendment to our Constitution explicitly protects the right of the people to “petition their government for the redress of grievances.”
But democracy is messy. Listening to your constituents can be hard, and if they’re angry, it can be unpleasant. For the Democrats on school boards across the country, there was a simpler solution. Rather than listening, they could simply use law enforcement to intimidate parents who disagreed with them into silence. In cases that involved parents like Scott Smith who refused to be intimidated, they could shut them down by force.
But there was only so much they could do at the local level.
So, shortly after the incident in Loudoun County, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) enlisted the Biden White House as their enforcers. They talked with political operatives at the White House who shared their warped view of the world, and with input from those operatives they drafted a letter to President Biden.
In the letter, the NSBA said that public schools and education leaders in the United States were “under an immediate threat.”3 They claimed that there was “a growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” and said “immediate assistance” was “required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety.” The line about interstate commerce was added so that the Department of Justice would have justification to take action at the federal level, because the Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Later in the letter, the NSBA wrote, “as these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”4 In the list of these “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials,” they included numerous incidents of parents getting fed up at school board meetings, many of which included nothing more than raised voices or peaceful demonstrations. The NSBA suggested that the Biden Justice Department use the Patriot Act, a controversial Bush-era law meant for the pursuit and punishment of terrorists, to go after these parents.
Early in the list, of course, was the case of Scott Smith, the man who had come to a school board meeting in peace only to be tackled by police at the behest of the school board itself. In the eyes of the Biden administration and their political allies, this father should now be classified as a domestic terrorist.
The NSBA letter was sent to the Biden Justice Department on September 29, 2021. Now, normally, the Biden Justice Department is glacially slow and often defiantly unresponsive. In 2021 alone, I sent seventeen letters to the Justice Department in an attempt to hold them to account. As one of the more senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have the responsibility—as does the full committee—to conduct oversight of the DOJ. I’ve sent multiple letters demanding answers on a variety of issues. On June 7, 2021, I sent a letter demanding to know why so few people who participated in violent riots during the summer of 2020 were prosecuted or punished for their crimes; a few days later, I joined a letter written by Senator Chuck Grassley that sought information about how sensitive taxpayer records were leaked to the media by the Internal Revenue Service. Also last year, I sent letters demanding information or action on the protection of rights of conscience for pro-life doctors, the need to prosecute Dr. Anthony Fauci’s multiple lies under oath to Congress, the public disclosure of John Durham’s report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and many other important issues.
As Republicans are currently in the minority in the Senate, I do not currently have the ability to issue a subpoena or coercive measure to compel answers from the DOJ. All I can do is ask nicely. For virtually all of these oversight letters, the DOJ delays weeks or months; then, finally, the response is little more than a form letter. They routinely dodge and deflect; the DOJ responses say, in effect, “Thanks for your letter. So sorry, but we’re not going to answer your questions.”
Their defiance is not purely partisan. DOJ often ignores Senate Democrats as well. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, for instance, one of the most liberal Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, has railed against the Biden DOJ for its lack of response to questions from Congress.
“There is something going on over there,” he said, “that looks an awful lot like a formal policy not to answer our questions…. We are going to have to come to a proper resolution of this so that the oversight capacity of all of us as senators is not completely blunted by blockades in the executive branch.”5
To be sure, the Department of Justice has been slow under Republican presidents, too. It’s not uncommon to have a pile of unanswered letters from concerned senators sitting on a desk somewhere, especially when those letters have come from the opposing party. But the Biden Department of Justice has been substantially worse, elevating non-responsiveness to an art form. Their refusal to answer people who are tasked with overseeing them reflects their arrogance and unbridled hubris. They believe they are accountable to no one—not to members of Congress, and certainly not to the American people.
But when partisan politics demands it, the Biden Department of Justice can be lightning fast. Ergo, on October 4, 2021, just six days after they received the letter from the National School Boards Association, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a formal memo addressed to the FBI and the criminal division of the Department of Justice. In it, Attorney General Garland said he was taking the incidents described in the memo seriously, and that the Justice Department would “use its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.” He also directed the FBI to convene meetings with local leaders to “facilitate discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff” to open “dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”
Shortly thereafter, Garland testified before the Judiciary Committee, and I took the opportunity to demand answers. Just a few weeks earlier, the boy who had sexually assaulted Scott Smith’s daughter in a public-school bathroom had been found guilty of a second count of sexual assault. According to local reports, he had lured another innocent girl into an empty classroom, where he proceeded to “hold her against her will and inappropriately touch her.”6 After he was convicted, the court ordered that he register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Yet Merrick Garland and the Biden Department of Justice still had the memo up on their website that labeled Scott Smith, the father of this sick boy’s first victim, as the problem, and potentially a domestic terrorist. They had not moved to edit or retract this memo or to send another one clarifying the false and offensive sentiments contained therein. The community of Loudoun County had taken notice. On October 26, for instance, hundreds of students participated in a walkout, many of them chanting “Loudoun County protects rapists.”
A few days before the Senate hearing was set to take place, Attorney General Garland had participated in an oversight hearing in the House of Representatives. Under questioning from representatives who were similarly outraged about the incident in Loudoun County and the Biden DOJ’s response to it, Garland had said that he “could not imagine any circumstance… where [parents of schoolchildren] would be labeled as domestic terrorists.”
Somehow, Garland had managed to get away with this non-answer in front of the House committee. I did not intend to let him do the same thing. Under the terms of his memo, the Biden Department of Justice was attempting to treat concerned parents as criminals, and he was the one directly responsible. Garland had explicitly referred to innocent parents such as Scott Smith as “potential threats.” Given that even a cursory glance at the facts of the case would have revealed this to be untrue, Garland was either misinformed about the case or lying about it. I didn’t know which was worse, but I intended to find out.
I decided not to begin my line of questioning with the usual pleasantries. I had done so at Attorney General Garland’s confirmation hearing, during which he agreed with me that it would be “totally inappropriate for the Department [of Justice] to target any individual because of their politics.”7 Now that he had gone directly against his own admonition, I figured it was best to get down to business.
I began by asking Garland how many incidents of violence were cited in the letter written to President Biden by the National School Boards Association—a letter which, according to his testimony under oath in front of the House committee, had been the entire basis for his decision to write a memo directing the FBI to investigate and target parents as if they were domestic terrorists.
He said he didn’t know, so I told him that the answer was twenty. When I asked how many were actually “violent,” as he had claimed in his letter—meaning someone had engaged in actual physical violence, beyond saying angry words or making gestures that were displeasing to Democrats—he fumbled again for an answer. I asked whether he or anyone on his staff did any independent research into the inflammatory claims in the school board association’s letter—a letter for which the NSBA had subsequently issued a lengthy apology, admitting there was “no justification for some of the language included.” Garland stammered again, and it became clear that neither he nor anyone on his staff had done any research at all.
As I pointed out during my questioning, Attorney General Garland began his career as a law clerk to Justice William Brennan. He’d also had many law clerks during his two-decade career as a judge. If he had come into the office of a Supreme Court justice during his time as a clerk claiming that there was a “disturbing pattern of violence,” and then cited nothing but a shoddy memo written by a partisan advocacy group as evidence, he’d have been fired on the spot (and the United States of America may have been better for it). This, as I pointed out, was yet another case of the Justice Department going after the Biden administration’s political enemies in a way that was sinister, wrong, and, as if the rest weren’t bad enough, downright sloppy.
In the end, Garland admitted that when Scott Smith expressed his displeasure with the way he’d been treated by the school board in Loudoun County, his outburst was protected by the First Amendment. Of course, the attorney general is supposed to study the facts of the case before sending the FBI out to investigate parents like Smith. But this was not law enforcement; instead, Garland and the Biden DOJ were using the machinery of the Justice Department to attack their political enemies.
When there are credible threats of actual violence, law enforcement can (and should) act. It doesn’t matter what party the person making the threats is affiliated with. But when there is peaceful speech—even loud, passionate, and angry speech—law enforcement has no authority to silence American citizens.
Merrick Garland knows that. He explicitly agreed with that during both his confirmation hearing and my questioning over Loudoun County.
But for both Garland and Joe Biden, politics was more important. It still is. The Biden White House wanted to satisfy its Democrat stakeholders, and so the DOJ moved with alacrity in responding to the ridiculous (and false) letter written by the National School Boards Association. The DOJ was more than happy to enlist the FBI to frighten, intimidate, and silence parents who had the temerity to disagree with their elected school boards.
The travesty in Loudoun County, and the Biden DOJ’s complicity in the cover-up, had major political consequences. Parents across Virginia were outraged. In recent years, Virginia has become a reliably blue state. In the 2020 election, Joe Biden won it by 10 percent of the vote; four years earlier, Hillary Clinton won it by 5 percent. But when the far-left Biden regime began meddling in the affairs of parents, that changed.
The Democrat running for governor in Virginia was Terry McAuliffe, an unabashed partisan who was more than happy to go along with his party’s platform of outright contempt for parents. During a debate on September 29, 2021, he said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” setting off a firestorm of controversy among families in Virginia. Even the Washington Post admitted that the line was probably the “last hurrah” for the candidate.8 Then, in the closing days of the campaign, McAuliffe appeared alongside Randi Weingarten, the arrogant and sanctimonious leader of one of our nation’s largest teachers’ unions. Over the past year, Weingarten had done enormous damage to students all over the nation, leading the charge for extended school closings long after they were remotely justifiable.
But moms and dads in Virginia, quite understandably, did not like being called domestic terrorists. They didn’t appreciate the Biden DOJ sending the G-men to go after soccer moms and concerned fathers. On election night, to the shock of political pundits everywhere, voters in Virginia elected Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, as governor.
I endorsed Youngkin early. He’s a friend, and the man I believed was most capable of leading Virginia out of the crisis it had found itself in thanks to a decade of liberal leadership. During the campaign, I spent two days barnstorming the state of Virginia with Glenn to help him win the race. That Republicans could win in blue Virginia, as well as in school board races across the country, augurs well for the likely electoral results in 2022.
Scott Smith, meanwhile, had traveled a Kafkaesque journey. From having his daughter brutally assaulted to seeing the school board deny it ever happened, to having major figures in the corporate press call him a liar and being forcefully thrown to the ground and arrested, to having the attorney general of the United States send the FBI after him as a domestic terrorist, nothing about the last year had been easy for him.
Fortunately, his name has since been cleared thanks to several hardworking investigative reporters who were willing to look into his story, find the truth, and publish it, particularly Luke Rosiak at the Daily Wire. Thanks to the work of these real journalists, Scott Smith’s story is known. Of course, the corporate media was utterly AWOL. The Washington Post, whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness,” couldn’t be bothered to cover the story. Gone are the days of Woodward and Bernstein aggressively tracking down and reporting on government corruption and abuse of power. Today, apparently, the Post has turned its erstwhile motto into a perverse mission statement. It took small conservative outlets to do the real work of journalism required to expose the truth.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this courageous father was targeted by the Department of Justice and singled out as a potential domestic terrorist threat by his government—all for the crime of showing up at a public meeting and attempting to defend his wronged child.
And it all happened because under President Biden, the justice system—and justice itself—has been corrupted.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
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|Epub||October 30, 2022|