Sen. Johnson said Garland order violates free speech

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Sen. Ron Johnson blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for violating parents’ constitutional rights by directing the FBI to assist local law enforcement to investigate threats to school officials. 

“What the attorney general is doing … is outrageous. It is such a violation of people’s constitutional rights to petition their government, to free speech,” Johnson (R-Wisc.) said in an interview with John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM.

Garland announced the directive earlier this month that would allow the FBI to take the lead on investigations into harassment of teachers, school board officials and administrators after the Biden administration received a letter from the National School Board Association, which likened the threats to “domestic terrorism.”

Critics said Garland is trying to chill the free speech rights of parents who speak up about the teaching of critical race theory and opposition to mask mandates in schools. 

Johnson said using the term “domestic terrorists” to describe a parent protesting coronavirus policies or critical race theory is intimidation in itself. 

“[Garland] is saying [the parents] are intimidating school board members. No, it is the attorney general of the United States that is intimidating people exercising their rights to free speech and the right to petition their government,” he said. 

Sen. Ron Johnson.
Sen. Ron Johnson said AG Merrick Garland using the term “domestic terrorists” to describe a parent protesting coronavirus policies or critical race theory is intimidation in itself.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa USA

The Republican said parents should not be cowed by the Justice Department. 

“I hope Americans are paying attention. The good news is that it seems that parents are paying attention. … They’re running for school board. I tell people in Wisconsin, if you don’t want critical race theory; if you don’t want the 1619 project taught to your children, don’t let it be,” Johnson said. 

“Show up peacefully. Be respectful. But be insistent. Demand that the school boards follow your wishes. Not the wishes of Joe Biden and his cast of characters,” he said. 



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