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Merrick Garland Gets Emotional During Senate Confirmation When Talking About Race, and I Owe Him an Apology

Illustration for article titled Merrick Garland Gets Emotional During Senate Confirmation When Talking About Race, and I Owe Him an Apology
Photo: AL DRAGO (Getty Images)

I owe Merrick Garland an apology. When it was announced that Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court (See Mitch McConnell as to why that didn’t happen) would now be President Biden’s pick for attorney general, I said some pretty harsh things about Garland.

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I called him as special as a pair of all-white socks from Marshalls. I called him the Honda Civic of choices for this position and then named five Black folks that would’ve been a better pick to become America’s top cop.

The problem for me was as a judge, Garland has a soft stance on civil rights cases. Not that he doesn’t understand or tend to side with the victims of injustices that are clearly discriminatory; he just doesn’t have enough experience in the matter, or at least hadn’t ruled in enough cases to form a complete picture. The word on Garland was that he was “fair but moderate” in the civil rights cases that he’d seen thus far.

But remember back to the yesteryear of 2020 when America was on fire. Think back to the social unrest and the protests and the number of fires that raged that wouldn’t be put out. Biden ran on the promise of making all of this right and when it came to proposing an attorney general who would help shape laws that might end or at least curb police violence against people of color, he ignored Alabama Senator Doug Jones, the man who brought the Klansmen responsible for planting a bomb in an Alabama church that killed four girls to justice. He also ignored former civil rights lawyer Deval Patrick, who’d served as the governor of Massachusetts and just happens to be the same color as those getting beaten and killed by police for Garland.

In short, Garland as attorney general was a fuck you to Senate Minority Loser McConnell, who refused to hold Garland’s confirmation hearing after then-President Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court. The petty in me loved this; the hotep in me didn’t.

Then Monday came the way that Mondays always do and Garland got choked up and all of sudden my hardness for ol’ “Milquetoast Merrick” started to fade and well, I’m still not all aboard the S.S. Garland but I’m warming up to it.

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It happened during New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s questioning (because of course it did) and well, just watch it for yourself:

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OK, I’m a father now and as such, I’m a sucker for someone getting in their feelings. But it wasn’t just that Garland got all up in his feels; it was also his answer on the disparities of race and incarceration.

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And look at this master class on systemic racism Garland gave to racistly obtuse Republican Sen. John Neely Kennedy (La.):

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While I’m not completely ready to believe that Garland’s going to head to the Justice Department and dawn a kente cloth cap and drill down on why “Lazy Smurf” was always considered the Black smurf, let’s just say that I owe Garland an apology as he’s not a pack of white socks at Marshalls. He’s clearly a bag of white socks with stripes at the top; he’s a Honda Civic with a spoiler kit.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

DISCUSSION

sle1570
Gameface doesn`t play nice with others

I cannot expect a white man to ‘know’ what’s it’s like to be a Black person or person of color, just as he shouldn’t expect me to know what it’s like to live a do-as-you-want consequence-free life of white privilege. All that I can ask of anyone regardless of the color of their skin, religious choices, education level or any number of other differences is to have an open mind to facts and be intellectually curious to the things that we don’t know, ultimately to reduce our sphere of ignorance. I read up on Mr. Garland when Obama nominated him. He struck me then as more than fair to the folks - particularly Black and Brown - that came before him in his courtroom. He has also dedicated himself to the eradication of domestic terrorism in all of its forms - including the New American Nazi Party that supports the Orange Fuhrer. While there may be other choices that I might have made for the position, I’m thinking he will do the job admirably. He is not a perfect man but he is a good man. More importantly, he’s a good man that listens and tries to understand to make the changes necessary to improve this country - and that is going to have to be enough