It’s been 186 days since someone — whose name we still don’t know — leaked a draft of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe v. Wade, setting off dozens of violent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers as well as churches. Pregnancy clinics were firebombed, threatened, and vandalized, yet the Biden administration’s Justice Department has failed to announce the indictment of a single perpetrator.
The DOJ has used the FACE Act — an unconstitutional abuse of power that the Justice Department has turned into an even more blatantly unconstitutional attack on the First Amendment — to target peaceful pro-life advocates. And even though the FACE Act ostensibly protects pro-life pregnancy clinics, not just abortion facilities, the law enforcement arm of the Biden administration has yet to publicly indict anyone who firebombed a pro-life pregnancy center this year.
Meanwhile, the DOJ has prioritized ridiculous-sounding cases that are reflective of our government’s administrative bloat. Whether you think some of these bizarre cases are worth pursuing at all, they certainly don’t seem to rise to the level of urgency that prosecuting arsonists who terrorize pregnancy clinics would. But for Biden’s politicized DOJ, they do. Here are a few of the kookiest cases the DOJ prosecuted while allowing the perpetrators of violent attacks on pregnancy centers to continue walking free.
WV Man Indicted for Buying a Ginseng Root Plant from Ohio
What’s more important than prosecuting political terrorists? Arresting a man who obtained a plant that was “illegally transported” across state lines, according to Merrick Garland’s DOJ. Was it a deadly, psychoactive plant, at least? Nope, it was ginseng, a plant that some claim “may boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and manage sexual dysfunction in men.”
“American ginseng grows wild in shady, mature Appalachian forests,” local news noted. “It’s been used for hundreds of years by the Cherokee and in Appalachian folk medicine. More recently, demand for American ginseng has shot up with Chinese demand for it in herbal medicine. It can sell for up to $850 a pound.” (Sounds expensive, yes, but note that the well-known spice saffron goes for the equivalent of $2,366 per pound.)
For his alleged crime — which the DOJ announced on Aug. 26, 116 days after the Dobbs leak — 59-year-old Tony Lee Coffman of West Virginia faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
DOJ Investigates a Massachusetts School for Not Accommodating Indigenous Mayan Language
In September, four months after the Dobbs leak, the DOJ announced it had investigated and subsequently reached a settlement with New Bedford Public Schools in Massachusetts after the school was accused of not sufficiently accommodating K’iche’, a Mayan language spoken in some areas of Guatemala. The Justice Department settlement forced the school to employ translators and interpreters of K’iche’ as well as “train all staff who communicate with parents” on the K’iche’ language. The DOJ would then spend time and resources to “review and provide feedback” on the school’s “proposed training materials.”
In addition, “The Justice Department will monitor the district’s implementation of the settlement agreement for at least three full school years to ensure that the district complies with its obligations,” the agency press release stated, calling such enforcements a “top priority.”
Ohio Woman Pleads Guilty After Selling Marbled Crayfish
Allison Spaulding, a 46-year-old Ohio resident, faces up to a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine for selling an invasive species of crayfish. She’s charged under the Lacey Act, a conservation law passed in 1900 and significantly broadened since then.
“The Ohio Division of Wildlife added the marbled crayfish to the injurious aquatic invasive species list for Ohio in January 2020,” the DOJ press release explained. “[C]onduct [like Spaulding’s] will be prosecuted and punished,” emphasized Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
There’s likely a compelling reason to limit the sale of invasive species, sure. But this case, for which the aforementioned press release dropped weeks after the Dobbs decision leak, doesn’t seem deserving of priority over hate crimes against pro-lifers.
DOJ Fines Kohl’s, Walmart Millions for Advertising Rayon as Bamboo
On the same day that pro-abortion radicals smashed in the windows of a pregnancy resource center in Portland, Oregon, and graphicly vandalized it, the DOJ announced that retail giants Walmart and Kohl’s would each pay millions after violating the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act. The government accused the companies of “advertising products as made of bamboo when such products were actually made of rayon and did not contain bamboo fibers,” and claiming those products “were environmentally friendly.”
“False environmental claims harm both consumers and honest businesses, and companies that greenwash can expect to pay a price,” warned Samuel Levine, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Sure, companies should be marketing honestly, and perhaps the federal government should play a role in enforcing that. But you know what didn’t get a press release on the DOJ website with a threatening quote? Anything about bringing the attacker of the Portland pregnancy center to justice.
The DOJ’s Priorities Are Clear
It’s true that criminal investigations can take time. But it’s also true that federal law enforcement agencies have prioritized investigations that are politically expedient, even at the expense of pursuing child sex abuse cases, according to FBI whistleblowers. Meanwhile, the DOJ has shown it has little interest in protecting the rights and safety of pro-lifers, as it has abused the FACE Act to go after at least 22 apparently nonviolent pro-life advocates just this year.
The FBI refused to answer The Federalist’s inquiries last month as to whether it had “made any arrests related to the vandalism, firebombing, etc. of dozens of pregnancy resource centers and churches around the country since the leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision,” and the DOJ failed even to respond.
Elle Purnell is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. Follow her work on Twitter @_etreynolds.