Shortly after President Biden’s inauguration, we made a number of predictions in these pages about the likely changes to federal law enforcement policies under the new administration, particularly those at the Department of Justice. Over the past year, President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have laid down clear markers for new directions in civil and criminal enforcement in many areas. As we begin a new year, it is a good time to take stock of where the Biden administration and the Garland DOJ have been and where they may be going in 2022.

As we discuss in further detail below, over the past year, the Garland DOJ has introduced many new initiatives, including several intended to respond to the crises of the past two years—most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6 riot, and the racial equity movements that arose in response to the murder of George Floyd. These new steps include, as just a few examples, challenges to the state voting laws recently enacted in Georgia and Texas, efforts to combat residential redlining in minority communities, new civil rights investigations of urban police departments, and an initiative to protect local education officials through federal law enforcement intervention.