Garland and the Department of Justice have gone after the state of Georgia over its voting law which he claims violates federal law by inhibiting voting rights on the basis of race.
The Justice Department sued the state in June after Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a 98-page election law in March that made numerous changes to how elections will be administered, including a new photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail.
On Saturday Garland commemorated the late congressman Lewis, whose advocacy led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which increased black voter registration in the U.S. He declared in a statement that since the Supreme Court's Shelby County decision 'there has been a dramatic rise across the country in legislative efforts that make it harder for millions of citizens to vote. This increase accelerated after the 2020 elections,'
'The recent further narrowing of voting protections only underscores the need for legislative action,' Garland added. The Department of Justice is using all the tools at its disposal to protect the voting rights of all citizens, but that is not enough. We need Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would provide the Department with important tools to protect the right to vote and to ensure that every vote is counted.'
This strong stance seemingly goes against earlier statements made by Garland.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Garland told Republican Senator Ted Cruz he would keep politics out of the DOJ, Fox News reported.
'I'm telling you what I think an attorney general ought to do — which is to look at the facts before making a decision,' Garland told the Texas senator. 'I'm also telling you that I will never make a decision in the department based on politics or partisanship.'
Critics have argued that the DOJ's recent decision to sue Georgia over its controversial new voting law 'politicized' the department and Georgia officials said the suit is 'blatantly political' and that Georgia's law actually strengthens security, expands access and improves transparency in election, Fox reported.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, predicted on Fox News that the DOJ lawsuit could backfire against the Biden administration and fail in court.
'I'm highly skeptical and I think that they may ultimately regret this move. It could indeed clarify this issue in the way that the Biden administration does not want,' Turley insisted.
Turley additionally pointed out that the provisions in the Georgia law differ little from those in many other states, including President Joe Biden's home state of Delaware, which requires an ID to vote at the polls.