Biden To Nominate Merrick Garland for Attorney General
Merrick Garland pays his respects for the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on July 22, 2019. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
By The Associated Press
Published January 6, 2021 at 10:16am
Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge and a former nominee for the Supreme Court, as his attorney general, two people familiar with the selection process said Wednesday.
Garland held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, including as a supervisor of the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Biden is expected to announce Garlands appointment on Thursday, along with other senior leaders of the department, including former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general.
He will also name an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, the founder of Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Garland was selected over other finalists including Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. The people familiar with the process spoke on condition of anonymity.
If confirmed, Garland would confront immediate challenges, including an ongoing Ka href="https://www.westernjournal.com/ex-fbi-lawyer- faces-music-doctoring-email-get-warrant-trump-russia-probe/? ff_source=Email&ff_medium=WJBreaking&ff_campaign=breaking&ff_content =western-journal">criminal investigation into Bidens son, Hunter.
A special counsel investigation into the origins of the Russia probe also remains open, forcing a new attorney general to decide how to handle it and what to make public.
As a senior Justice Department official in 1995, Garland helped manage the federal governments response to the bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. The bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was later executed.
At the time of the bombing, Garland was 42 and principal associate deputy attorney general, a top lieutenant to Attorney General Janet Reno.
He was chosen to go to Oklahoma City, the highest-ranking Justice Department official there, and led the prosecution for a month until a permanent lead prosecutor was named.
Garland was selected over other contenders for the job including former Alabama senator Doug Jones, who lost his Senate seat last month, and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
It is rare but not unprecedented for attorneys general to have previously served as judges.
It happened in 2007 when President George W. Bush picked Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge in Manhattan, for the job. Eric Holder, President Barack Obamas first attorney general, had also previously been a judge.
Garland was put forward by former President Barack Obama for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but Republicans did not hold hearings to confirm him. The vacancy was later filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch during the Trump administration.
Garland has been on the federal appeals court in Washington since 1997.
Before that, he had worked in private practice, as well as a federal prosecutor, a senior official in the Justice Departments criminal division and as the principle associate deputy attorney general.
Biden will pull up all the dregs from the depths of the swamp to staff his administration.