Republican Ohio Sen. JD Vance announced a new step Tuesday that will make it harder for judicial nominees to get confirmed, criticizing Attorney General Merrick Garland for “going after his political opponents.”
“We have to grind this department to a halt until Merrick Garland promises to do his job and stop going after his political opponents,” Vance said via Twitter.
Vance will be putting holds on nominees to the Justice Department. If any senator places a hold on a nominee, that means there is not unanimous consent, and as a result, the nominee will need to be approved in a floor vote, which will likely make for a longer process.
Vance’s decision comes the same day former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty. Trump was indicted last week on 37 counts.
The “Hillbilly Elegy” author-turned-senator said the Trump indictment is part of a larger pattern.
“We have Catholic fathers harassed for their pro-life activism,” said Vance. “We, of course, have violent criminals walking the streets after the 2020 summer of riots. If you’re letting the violent criminals go free and you’re harassing Christian parents for their political activism, you’re not engaged in justice, you’re engaged in politics.”
Mark Houck, a pro-life activist, was arrested last year by the FBI for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, despite local authorities not pursuing the case. Houck was acquitted by a jury earlier this year.
Under Garland’s leadership, the Justice Department targeted parents for alleged violence at heated school board meetings.
“It’s time we stop just whining about this problem and debating this problem and actually do something about it,” Vance said.
Vance also asserted Garland would use confirmed nominees not to enforce the law impartially, but “clearly to harass his political opponents.”
Donald Trump Jr. cheered Vance’s move, tweeting, “JD Vance is one of the few Republicans in the US Senate who isn’t afraid to stand up to [President Joe] Biden, Garland and the radical left.”
Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, also praised Vance in a tweet, saying the senator was “taking a courageous stand few others in Washington would.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“The Justice Department has been weaponized beyond recognition—it’s time for radical measures to defend everyday Americans from their harassment,” Roberts added.