Sen. Tom Cotton lambasted Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and urged him to resign during a Senate Judiciary hearing on Wednesday.
“This testimony, your directive, your performance is shameful,” said Mr. Cotton, Arkansas Republican. “Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, judge.”
Mr. Garland was nominated to the high court by former President Obama in March 2016, but his nomination was stalled for nearly a year by Senate Republicans. After former President Trump took office in 2017, he replaced Mr. Garland‘s nomination with now-Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.
Mr. Cotton’s comments came after he criticized Mr. Garland‘s controversial school board memo.
In the Oct. 4 memo, Mr. Garland directed federal officials to meet with law enforcement to discuss strategies for responding to what the memo described as “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school board members and other education staff.
Republicans contend the memo was meant to silence concerned parents from speaking out at school board meetings about transgender issues, the teaching of critical race theory or other controversial policies endorsed by Washington Democrats.
Mr. Garland told Mr. Cotton that the memo “is not about parents being able to object in their school boards.”
“So parents can object to their school boards about curriculum, about the treatment of their children, about school policies — all that is 100% protected by the First Amendment and there is nothing in this memorandum contrary to that,” Mr. Garland said. “We are only trying to prevent violence against school officials.”
• Alex Swoyer contributed to this story.