The ACLU today released this notable seven-page letter directed to Attorney General-Designate Merrick Garland. Here is how it gets started:
Congratulations on your nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Your nomination comes at a moment when America faces an overdue reckoning with racial injustice that can start to be addressed with policies such as adopting a federal use-of-force standard, decriminalizing marijuana, ending mandatory minimum sentencing, and abolishing the death penalty. We applaud President Biden’s pledge to heal our country and reform our criminal legal system, and we look forward to working with him and DOJ to advance our shared goals.
At your confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 22, we urge you to make clear that under your leadership DOJ will adopt policies to build a more racially just criminal legal system. In addition to matters we anticipate that you already plan to address, we urge you to make clear, on-the-record commitments on five critical issues: mass incarceration; policing; COVID-19 in federal detention; the death penalty; and solitary confinement.