The Heritage Foundation and Advancing American Freedom (AAF), two conservative non-profits, have filed a lawsuit against the Biden Department of Justice seeking to obtain documents related to the response of federal law enforcement to violent attacks targeting pro-life individuals and organizations.
Around 200 churches and pro-life pregnancy crisis centers have been vandalized or violently attacked since the Roe v. Wade ruling last year as progressives expressed their anger at the Supreme Court decision.
Attorney General Merrick Garland declared earlier this month that the FBI and DOJ are committing their “full resources” to the investigation, but so far the bureau has only arrested two people in connection with the incidents.
Garland made the claim under question by Utah Senator Mike Lee, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“You are right that there are many more prosecutions with respect to the blocking of abortion centers,” Garland told Lee. “But that is generally because those actions are taken with photography at the time, during the daylight. Seeing the person who did it is quite easy.”
“Those who are attacking pregnancy resource centers, which is a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night in the dark,” Garland continued. “We have put full resources on this.”
Last September, the Oversight Project of the Heritage Foundation submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, seeking access to documents related to the Department of Justice’s internal communication about the attacks and communications between the DOJ and the White House. After failing to receive a response, they filed a complaint that was exclusively shared with The Daily Caller.
The lawsuit demands the court to order the DOJ “to conduct a search or searches reasonably calculated to uncover all records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA request” and “to produce, within twenty days of the Court’s order, or by such other date as the court deems appropriate, [any] and all non-exempt records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request and indexes justifying the withholding of any responsive records withheld in whole or in part under a claim of exemption.”
Mike Howell, a plaintiff in the case and the director of Heritage’s Oversight project, explained that part of their motivation for the case was the Biden administration’s persecution of pro-life Americans including Catholic activist Mark Houck:
Merrick Garland and his top officials at the DOJ clearly hold us in contempt. They refuse to prosecute those who violently attack pro-life organizations simply for existing and who attempt to coerce and intimidate Supreme Court justices into ruling the way the mob desires. Meanwhile, they send SWAT teams to the homes of pro-life Americans to arrest and prosecute them on trumped-up, phony charges.
There are two standards for the application of justice in this country under Joe Biden and Merrick Garland, and Garland is a disgrace to the office he holds. That’s why we asked for these documents, and it’s why the DOJ refuses to give them up — they know that what Americans would learn will not be pretty. That’s also why we’re not going to stop fighting until we get them. We filed this lawsuit in the middle of the day, so there’s no reason for Garland and his team to miss it.
The organization for Advancing American Freedom (AAF) was also listed as a plaintiff, with the group’s general counsel J. Marc Wheat accusing the DOJ of being “fearful of igniting the wrath of the Far Left and abortion extremists” by failing to prosecute the vandals. “The American people have a right to know why those who burned and vandalized pregnancy centers have not been held accountable for their violence against traditional conservatives and pro-life groups,” he said in a statement.
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