Vice President Kamala Harris cast a tie-breaking vote on Wednesday to confirm Biden’s nominee Rachael Rollins as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts over the objection of all 50 Senate Republicans.
Rollins was previously the District Attorney (DA) for Suffolk County, and in that role Rollins was exceedingly lenient, refusing to prosecute those charged with several violent crimes.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) objected to the nomination on the Senate floor, calling Rollins a “left-wing prosecutor.”
“Many Americans have probably never heard of Rachael Rollins,” Cruz began. “But they are becoming very familiar with the kind of lawlessness and dangerous crime that radical left-wing district attorneys like [Rollins] have generated.”
Cruz continued, “Under their watch, we’ve seen looting, and larceny, and violent crime rates rise in cities all over the country the past couple of years.”
DAs like Rollins, Cruz said, “see it as their job not to prosecute crime, [but] to protect criminals.”
In fact, cities across the country have seen a rise in crime and a drop in enforcement of the law since the summer of 2020.
After the death of George Floyd and the protests and riots that followed, many prosecutors and DAs followed the anti-police rhetoric of left-wing activists and began to refuse to enforce the law.
In San Francisco, this rhetoric was brought to an entirely new level after the city effectively decriminalized shoplifting if the items stolen cost less than $950, leading to a string of daylight robberies with shoplifters touting their faces in plain sight.
More recently, left-wing Milwaukee DA John Chisholm was blasted for releasing repeat violent offender Darrell Brooks on a $1,000 bail. Just days later Brooks drove an SUV into a crowd attending a Christmas parade near an affluent suburb, killing five people and wounding almost 60 more.
Rollins Refused to Prosecute Several Crimes as DA
And according to information obtained by Cruz, Rollins is another anti-law enforcement, anti-prosecution DA that “sees it as [her] job to protect criminals.”
In a 2019 memo from Rollins’ time as DA, she gave her staff a list of 15 common offenses which she said “should be declined or dismissed pre-arraignment without conditions. The presumption is that charges that fall into this category should always be declined.”
In other words, Rollins used her position of power to refuse to enforce the law for a laundry list of crimes, including, among others, trespassing, shoplifting, larceny, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property.
But several offenses on the list were significantly more serious: Rollins also refused to prosecute violent offenses like breaking and entering with property damage, threats, resisting arrest, and wanton or malicious destruction of property.
Rollins was equally against enforcing laws against driving with a suspended license, regardless of the reasons for the suspension: These could be as benign as one too many speeding tickets or failing to renew one’s license but, as Cruz noted on the Senate floor, these licenses also could have been suspended for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Rollins was also unwilling to prosecute almost any drug- or alcohol-related charges: charges for minor in possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana, possession of an illegal substance other than marijuana, and all possession with intent to distribute charge.
In short, Rollins gave drug dealers and drug and alcohol abusers a free rein during her tenure as DA.
Horrified by this track record, every single Senate Republican joined Cruz in trying to shoot down the nomination.
But Democrats were apparently satisfied that Rollins could fulfill the duties required of a United States Attorney, and voted unanimously for her confirmation.
Even erstwhile moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and others who have in the past broken with their party voted for the anti-law enforcement DA.
With Democrats all on board with Biden’s pick, they met the 50-vote threshold to activate Harris’ tie-breaking vote, allowing Rollins to be confirmed.
As U.S. Attorney, Rollins will be in charge of bringing prosecution against those charged with violating federal law, prosecute or defend cases in her district which involve the United States government as a party, and, on occasion, to collect debts that are owed to the federal government when normal administrative agencies are unable to do so.
Rollins will operate under the purview of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice.
Garland, a failed Supreme Court nominee who was marketed by President Barack Obama as a moderate, has already taken advantage of the U.S. Attorneys under his command.
After the nation’s school boards saw a trend of concerned parents speaking out against critical race theory and other left-wing causes being taught to their children, Garland promised the National School Boards Association that he would use federal resources to target these aggrieved parents.
On Oct. 20, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Leif Johnson, under orders from Garland, sent a letter to county attorneys’ offices across the state offering advice and federal aid to prosecutors seeking convictions against parents who had spoken out against the curriculum being taught to their children.
In the letter, Johnson suggested pages worth of potential charges that could be levied against these parents, ranging from conspiracy to civil rights violations.
In her role as U.S. Attorney, Rollins will be similarly empowered: As the main legal authority within her district, it will be within Rollins’ power to bring charges or decline to bring charges against those who violate federal law.
If Garland continues his campaign against aggrieved parents, Rollins will be a front-line figure in choosing whether or not to bring aggrieved parents to federal court.