May 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Merrick Garland warns of democracy under threat in Harvard speech

Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general, speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice on May 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland warned about threats to democracy in the U.S. and abroad in a commencement speech at Harvard University on Sunday.

Driving the news: Garland, who is a Harvard alumnus, pointed to efforts to undermine the right to vote, violence against particular groups of people, the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Russian invasion of Ukraine abroad as the "many ways in which democracy is under threat."

  • Garland also urged the students, members of the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes, to devote some part of their lives to public service.
  • "There is one particular reason that makes my call to public service especially urgent for your generation," he said. "It is an urgency that should move each of you, regardless of the career you choose. It is the urgent need to defend democracy."

What he's saying: "You are the next generation that must devote yourselves to preserving our democracy and helping others protect theirs," Garland said. "And although what I am asking of you is daunting, I know that you are the next generation that will fulfill the promise this country represents. I know that our democracy will be stronger by the time it is your turn to pass the baton."

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