Just when many Americans likely thought that our country’s political situation could not get any worse, the Biden administration released what is perhaps the crown jewel of its far-left domestic agenda—and, if passed, it could have devastating effects for the rule of law in America.
In late March—in the midst of a worsening inflation crisis and mounting escalation between Russia and Ukraine—the White House quietly released a 2023 budget proposal that represents one of the single largest government expansions in the history of our country. If passed by Congress, it would deal yet another near-fatal blow to the rule of law in the United States. As such, Americans and elected officials alike should do everything in their power to resist it.
To the surprise of almost no one, Biden’s budget contains many of Democrats’ most prized policy goals—including an advancement of their identity politics agenda, more open border initiatives, and additional measures that would lead to a complete federal takeover of elections. But among the more concerning components of the budget proposal, which remains curiously unacknowledged by most conservatives, is its attempt to cement the Department of Justice (DOJ) into a progressive political weapon.
The White House has requested $37.7 billion at DOJ for the upcoming fiscal year—a whopping 13 percent increase from last year’s DOJ budget. Most notably, the budget would establish a new DOJ “Office for Environmental Justice,” or just one piece of a larger “comprehensive environmental justice strategy” from the Biden administration.
Like many other progressive initiatives, at first glance, the term “environmental justice” does not appear menacing or objectionable. After all, few Americans—regardless of political persuasion—would object to clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet.
But do not let the left’s lofty language fool you. Behind the benign phrasing of “environmental justice” lies a plethora of woke language and policies that would ravage the American economy and force identity politics on Americans while doing little to actually help the environment.
The proposed “Office for Environmental Justice” will, according to the budget, derive from a preexisting Biden executive order titled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” Among other concerning provisions, this executive order vows to appoint new members to the Environmental Protection Agency on the basis of their commitment to combatting vague progressive terms like “racial inequity.”
Biden’s budget proposal includes the leftist buzzword “equity” 74 times and “climate” 187 times. It also includes funding for the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, an entity that has been pushed by some of the same figures and organizations advocating for the socialist Green New Deal.
Given these connections, and given that the budget echoes the same language and terminology used in a wide array of other radical policy measures pushed by the Biden administration, Americans can rest assured that, should the budget be passed and signed into law, slogans like “climate change,” “environmental justice,” and “inequity” will be used as a false pretext to cram through radical economic and social policies that remain wildly unpopular with large swaths of the American public.
As disturbing as this reality is, what should trouble the American people most of all is the Democrats’ eagerness to wield the DOJ—the agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s laws—as a partisan tool to impose a far-left agenda that they are unable to pass in Congress. It is difficult to imagine a more egregious affront to a fair and impartial justice system, or to the concepts of limited government and equal justice under the law.
Joe Biden and Merrick Garland have already done more than almost any administration in recent history to damage and discredit the DOJ in the minds of law-abiding American citizens. In just 14 months in office, Biden has used the DOJ to target parents at school board meetings who object to the teaching of Critical Race Theory and gender ideology; he has hired soft-on-crime prosecutors (including the Associate Attorney General) who refuse to prosecute unlawful activity and who support defunding the police; he has attacked Republican state legislatures for banning sex change operations for children; and the list goes on.
During my time as Acting Attorney General under President Donald Trump, the DOJ stayed true to its mission of enforcing the law, preventing crime, and ensuring fair and impartial justice for every American. Yet, in a wildly short period of time, Joe Biden and Merrick Garland have made our nation’s central law enforcement agency a corrupt instrument of the Democratic Party. And now, Biden’s budget—which would further undermine the DOJ, undercut law and order, and betray the trust of the American people—could be one of the final nails in the coffin for a properly functioning American legal system.
As the United States continues to endure historic levels of inflation, an energy crisis, and the worst influx of illegal immigration on record, an even more corrupt and depraved DOJ is the last thing our nation needs. For the sake of our country, our laws, and our faith in our government, Congress must act now to strike down the Biden budget.
Matthew Whitaker is co-chair of the Center for Law and Justice at the America First Policy Institute and the former Acting Attorney General under the Trump administration.