Full DC Court Asked to Rehear Case against AG Merrick Garland

(Washington, D.C. – January 9, 2024)  The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a petition for rehearing en banc, asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to rehear its case against Attorney General Merrick Garland.

In this lawsuit, AFLC is challenging the Attorney General’s political attack of parents who speak out at school board meetings against the indoctrination of their children by “woke” school boards.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of parents from Loudoun County, Virginia and Saline, Michigan.

The district court judge dismissed the lawsuit on “justiciability grounds”—claiming that the parents were not “injured” by the Attorney General’s policy and thus lacked standing to challenge it.  The court refused to address the merits of the case.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit (the very court where Garland presided as a judge) affirmed the lower court ruling.  We are now asking that the full (en banc) D.C. Circuit take up this important case.

As stated in the petition:

The panel’s decision not only ignores the factual allegations in the [First Amended Complaint] and thus violates the appropriate standard of review, it conflicts with Supreme Court precedent and the precedent of this and other United States Courts of Appeals.  “[C]onsideration by the full court is necessary to secure and maintain uniformity of the court’s decisions.”  Fed. R. App. P. 35(b)(1)(a).  Accordingly, Plaintiffs ask the Court to rehear this “exceptional[ly] important” case.  Id. at 35(b)(1)(B).

On October 4, 2021, Attorney General Garland announced with great public fanfare that he was calling upon the vast law enforcement resources of the Department of Justice, including the FBI, to target parents who dare to publicly criticize local school boards that are indoctrinating their children with a harmful and radical left-wing agenda disguised as school curricula.

As set forth in the lawsuit, the Attorney General relied exclusively on the now-discredited letter drafted by “progressive” members of the National School Boards Association (“NSBA”), which labeled the parents as “domestic terrorists.”

Without the “domestic terrorist” allegation, the Department of Justice would have no jurisdiction (authority) to meddle in local school board matters.

The NSBA letter was orchestrated by the Biden Administration in order to create the pretext for the Attorney General’s policy directive.  In fact, this contrived letter served as the sole basis for the policy.

Pursuant to the Attorney General’s directive, the FBI created a “threat tag” to aid in tracking and investigating parents the Attorney General and his “progressive” allies consider a threat to school board officials.

An October 20, 2021 internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all investigations and assessments of alleged “threats” directed specifically at education officials.

As alleged in the lawsuit, this “weaponization” of the Department of Justice violates federal constitutional and statutory law.  The full court needs to take up this case.