Notes from Surreal Land, continued

Yesterday, the Justice Department, led by attorney general Merrick Garland, took a stand in defense of the real. In its brief filed in federal court, the Department stated that it “cannot conclude that {Republican Congressman Mo} Brooks was acting within the scope of his office or employment as a Member of Congress at the time of the incident out of which the claims in this case arose,” and that “inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative—or any federal employee.”

Brooks’s claim to the contrary was surreal. That there was any doubt that it would be rejected was surreal. It’s astonishing enough that Garland’s phrasing of the Department’s statement –– “we cannot conclude that . . . “ sounded as if he had tried to agree with Brroks’s argument, but just couldn’t do it. Another, no less honorable, attorney general might have treated it with scorching contempt, which is what it deserved. But that’s not Garland’s way, which may be just as well. It’s not a bad philosophy to cast as much light with as little heat as possible.