On Thursday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government held a hearing, "Free Speech: The Biden Administration's Chilling of Parents' Fundamental Rights."
The accusation against the Biden Administration was not fabricated. As witnesses described in the hearing, on October 4, 2021, at the behest of the National School Boards Association, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI via a letter to meet with local and national law enforcement leaders to "discuss strategies" to handle the "increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members."
The DOJ directed the FBI to use the same tools they use to fight domestic extremism to combat angry parents who took their complaints over forced masking, poor educational practices, critical race and gender theory to school boards.
Garland encouraged any threats to be reported to the FBI's hotline. Though the National School Boards Association later apologized for their involvement in the letter — the complaints had actually originated through that organization — neither Garland, the DOJ, the FBI, or anyone at the Biden Administration has ever rescinded the letter, apologized for it, or even so much as explained it further.
"No one who has been involved in the genesis of this letter has been held accountable…" said witness Nicole Neily, President of Parents Defending Education. "We demand to know how our tax dollars were used against us."
Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, upheld the rights of parents to have a say in their children's education and future.
House Democrats took the opportunity to slam conservative lawmakers, parents, and ideas.
While one lawmaker, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), cited a Reuters report that there had been 200 recorded threats against school board members or teachers, by parents, Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX) refuted that and said none of the threats resulted in arrests.
"The DOJ did not set up a hotline for Antifa, they set up a hotline for you," Hunt said, in a powerful statement. He showed a series of photos of riots that occurred nationwide in 2020. "Where is the hotline?" Hunt repeatedly asked.
"This," Hunt pointed to a photo of rioting in DC in 2020, "is what domestic terrorism looks like. It's not a school board meeting."
Instead of wondering why such a letter could have been produced, or what facts there were to back up such a letter targeting American citizens, Democrat lawmakers smeared the witnesses.
Rep. Henry "Hank" Johnson: (D-GA) asked witness Tyson Langhofer, Senior Counsel and Director of the Center for Academic Freedom, Alliance Defending Freedom, "Isn't it true that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated ADF a hate group?"
Langhofer replied that, among other accolades, "ADF has won 14 Supreme Court cases."
Johnson continued until his time was up: "But aren't they a hate group?"
The SPLC's notorious "hate-watch" has designated the ADF as a "hate group," along with numerous Christian groups. An SPLC attorney was recently arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, and the SPLC has defended him. Reporting from the SPLC was also the basis for a recent FBI bulletin that was later rescinded which designated Catholics who prefer the rite of Latin Mass as domestic extremists, as well.
The SPLC designates ADF as a hate group for the reasons that ADF believes in the science of biological sex, does not believe men should compete in women's sports, and opposes gender identity indoctrination in schools.
There were some encouraging moments, where lawmakers allowed witnesses present to expose the fact that a letter such as the one the DOJ produced in 2020 is an example of the government's attempt to chill parental rights.
Many of the witnesses produced specific examples, including Langhofer, who told about the now-infamous case of the teacher in Loudoun County, Tanner Cross. Cross went to an open school board meeting to object to a proposed policy to participate in the social transitioning of kids. He spoke his allotted one minute and the next day was fired. Langhofer's employer, Alliance Defending Freedom, was able to get Cross reinstated.
While this was a powerful example of the effects of the DOJ's letter, the fact that Democrat lawmakers were uninterested in the origins of the letter, didn't ask why it hadn't been rescinded, and no one spoke up about what an awful message this was to send to parents who care about their children's education, was disheartening. Public education is a non partisan subject and parental rights are inherent. It was clear from this hearing only conservative lawmakers agree with that statement.
"Even though the outcry was severe, the administration wouldn't rescind the memorandum," Langhofer said in his testimony. "We urge this subcommittee to use all means necessary at its disposal to counter this executive overreach."
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