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AG Garland Hammers Rule of Law, Keeping the Peace in NAAG Remarks  

Attorney General Merrick Garland touched on several key themes dominating headlines in recent months, among them violent crime and the rule of law, during his remarks to dozens of state attorneys general during their annual Capital Forum.

Attorney General Merrick GarlandAs such, Garland laid out his three-part vision for the Justice Department to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), where he discussed the direction of his department and its place in the broader legal landscape. “Since I was sworn in as Attorney General in March, I have set out three co-equal priorities that should guide the Justice Department’s work: upholding the rule of law; protecting civil rights; and keeping our country safe,” Garland said.

Garland also discussed the importance of working together to tackle complex legal challenges and pointed to antitrust enforcement as a natural area of cooperation between the state’s law enforcement agents and his federal department. During his remarks, he noted the rich history of cooperation between his office and the state attorneys and also emphasized the importance of their continued collaboration.

“In 1907, Attorneys General from across America–from Minnesota to Mississippi, from Colorado to Massachusetts–joined together in Missouri to form this association. Its mission was to devise a coordinated strategy to deal with the largest corporate monopoly of the day: Standard Oil,” said Garland. “ …Our cooperation remains essential today, as we see anticompetitive practices deployed in a wide range of industries–from agriculture to pharmaceuticals to tech–practices that are similar in many ways to those that led to the founding of this association 114 years ago.”

From Twitter

IL Attorney General @ILAttyGeneral

"This morning, I joined @KristenClarkeJD and Wyoming AG Bridget Hill at the @NatlAssnAttysGn Capital Forum to discuss the most pressing civil rights issues facing our country. We also explained the relationship between AG offices and the @TheJusticeDept.Thank you for having me!"

Garland also addressed what he called the “five key shared challenges” facing the Justice Department and state attorneys. Those challenges, as listed, are as follows:

  • Combatting domestic and foreign terrorism
  • Mitigating increasingly complex cyber threats
  • Addressing violent community crime
  • Addressing the criminally driven overdose epidemic
  • Protecting democratic institutions

According to information from the NAAG, other speakers at the forum included Karl A. Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia and the president of the NAAG, along with several attorney’s general from around the country as well as other federal and local legal experts.

The event was held from Monday, Dec. 6 to Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Garland, however, addressed the cohort remotely.

Ultimately, the attorney general drove home the message that protecting Americans is the primary function of the criminal justice system. “Keeping the American people safe is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities, and our ability to fulfill that obligation depends on our cooperative efforts with all of you. We are grateful for your partnership,” said Garland as he wrapped up his remarks.

To read his entire address, see here.

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