Biden to introduce Garland as attorney general, other top DOJ nominees
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday formally announced plans to nominate federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland as attorney general and unveiled the names of three additional nominees to top positions at the Department of Justice.
Biden intends to nominate veteran prosecutor Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general; Vanita Gupta, an experienced civil rights attorney, as associate attorney general; and Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will introduce the nominees during an event later Thursday, according to the transition team.
Biden described the four individuals as “first-rate nominees” who would restore independence at the Justice Department.
“Our first-rate nominees to lead the Justice Department are eminently qualified, embody character and judgment that is beyond reproach, and have devoted their careers to serving the American people with honor and integrity,” Biden said in a statement.
“They will restore the independence of the Department so it serves the interests of the people not a presidency, rebuild public trust in the rule of law, and work tirelessly to ensure a more fair and equitable justice system,” he continued.
Then-President Obama selected Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) never allowed a vote on his nomination. Justice Neil Gorsuch ultimately took the seat in 2017. The Hill and other news outlets reported Biden’s intention to nominate Garland as attorney general on Wednesday.
Monaco served as homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Obama and before that filled high-level roles at the Justice Department, including assistant attorney general for national security.
Gupta served as acting assistant attorney general for the civil rights division at the Justice Department under Obama. She is currently the president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Clarke is the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and served as head of the civil rights bureau of the New York state attorney general’s office.
Biden, who will be inaugurated in less than two weeks, now has only a few remaining Cabinet nominees to announce.