During the first day of his confirmation hearings, Judge Merrick B. Garland – President Biden’s nominee for attorney general – told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there’s a distinction between an attack on government property at night and during the day: one is domestic terrorism, while the other may not be.
“Let me ask you about assaults on federal property in places other than Washington D.C. – Portland, for instance, Seattle – do you regard assaults on federal courthouses or other federal property as acts of domestic extremism, domestic terrorism?” Missouri Senator Josh Hawley asked.
“Well, Senator, my own definition, which is about the same as the statutory definition, is the use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes,” he said.
“So, an attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases that blatantly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism,” he continued.
“An attack simply on a government property at night or any other kind of circumstances is a clear crime and a serious one and should be punished. I don’t know enough about the facts of the example you’re talking about but that’s where I draw the line,” he added.
“Both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”