In a 70-30 vote yesterday, the Senate confirmed DC Appeals chief judge Merrick Garland as the new Attorney General of the United States. He now joins President Joe Biden’s administration as the 86th Attorney General. Garland resigned from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals last Wednesday. He sent a letter to Biden shortly before his confirmation.
Both parties praised the nomination of Garland. This is surprising given what happened five years ago. In 2016, Republicans sat on his nomination as Supreme Court associate justice. Now, Republicans joined Democrats in confirming Biden’s nomination. During his AG nomination last month, Garland pledged to stay neutral. He will fend off efforts to politically influence the Justice Department’s investigations. His first priority is to fully prosecute those involved with the Capitol riot last January 6.
“America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Garland is “someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle,” he added.
McConnell Appeals to Garland to Play Fair
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also lauded the new Attorney General. He said Garland has a sterling long reputation as a “straight-shooter” and “legal expert,” among other qualities. McConnell said Garland’s “left-of-center perspective” within “the legal mainstream” will help him with his new job. In addition, McConnell discussed with Garland the federal investigation into the Capitol riots.
The new AG “needs to continue the work of identifying, arresting, and prosecuting those who broke the law,” he said. Also, the Senator urged Garland to play fair. He should and treat “with equal seriousness” the “political violence” of the Left. He also requested that Garland thwart efforts by Biden to skirt Congress. McConnell should prevent Democrats from using executive power to create programs like DACA. “Judge Garland must not back other constitutionally-corrosive efforts to effectively repeal laws just by ignoring them,” he added.
Lots of Work Waiting For New AG
Garland, a moderate judge with deep prosecutorial experience, will soon lead a Justice Department reeling from political scandals and racing to confront the threat from violent homegrown extremists. Given his stated priority is to bring the Capital rioters to justice, he did not rule out charging those who bankrolled and organized the mob.
Gerland did have experience investigating extremists. During a Justice Department stint in 1995, he traveled to Oklahoma City after a bomb detonated at the federal building killed 168 Americans. Colleagues credited him for tracking and building a very detailed trail of evidence. This led to the conviction of Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols. That experience, as well as his level-headed approach during a standoff with the Montana Freemen, shows he can handle the extremist demands of the job.
Remove the Politicization of the DOJ
In addition, Garland also promised to eliminate the politicization of the Department of Justice. He stressed he will protect the Justice Department from political interference from the White House. Awaiting him are some of the most politically-charged cases in recent years. Specifically, it means continuing with John Durham’s special counsel investigation into the history of the Trump-Russia allegations. Also waiting for him is a special tax investigation involving Biden’s son, Hunter. Hunter’s overseas deals are facing scrutiny as the president’s son may not have been forthcoming with his finances. Federal investigators in Delaware are investigating whether Hunter Biden violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries. However, Garland said he has not spoken with the President about this.
Watch the CBS News report showing that the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as attorney general:
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