Garland expected to become Biden's AG after high court holdup

Nearly five years after Senate Republicans refused to grant Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandPolitics in the Department of Justice can be a good thing What's worse, violence on the left or the right? It's a dangerous question The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill MORE a hearing to be confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court, the appeals court judge is getting his chance to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, this time as President BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE’s choice to be attorney general. 

In 2016, former President Obama nominated Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE (R-Ky.) did not allow a hearing on the nomination, citing the presidential election eight months later. 

Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchJustices raise bar for noncitizens to challenge removal from US after conviction Supreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE was confirmed to the seat on the high court the following year, just more than two months after he was nominated by former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE.


Garland is one of the last major Cabinet appointments by Biden, and he is likely to secure confirmation with bipartisan support despite the former Republican blockade on his last nomination.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal MORE (R-Texas) has said Garland’s experience “makes him well-suited to lead the Department of Justice, and I appreciated his commitment to keep politics out of the Justice Department.”

“Unless I hear something new, I expect to support his nomination before the full Senate,” Cornyn added, according to The Associated Press.

In opening remarks released Sunday, Garland pledged to address the threat of domestic extremism as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, specifically invoking the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"From 1995 to 1997, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government," Garland’s remarks read. "If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 -- a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government."


Biden has pledged that the Justice Department during his tenure will be free of political influence or interference. 

The Justice Department has asked for the resignations of all Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys, a somewhat typical move for incoming administrations. But Biden left in place the U.S. attorney in Delaware in charge of investigating the tax affairs of his son Hunter Biden.

He is also allowing U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamSpecial counsel investigating Russia probe to retire as US attorney Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Garland seeks to draw sharp contrast with Trump-era DOJ MORE to continue in his role as a special prosecutor probing the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, a position appointed by former Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPolitics in the Department of Justice can be a good thing Majority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case MORE.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal MORE (R-S.C.), the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in January that Garland was a “sound choice” for the position, tweeting, “He is a man of great character, integrity, and tremendous competency in the law” after the nomination was reported.

Garland's current confirmation hearing was held up one more time this year by Graham, who in February, when he was still chairman, refused to hold Garland’s hearing for attorney general, pointing to what was then the upcoming impeachment trial of Trump as a roadblock.


Garland currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. 

He previously served as a principal deputy associate attorney general during the Clinton administration. During that tenure, he investigated numerous high-profile domestic terror cases such as Ted Kaczynski’s bombing campaign, the Oklahoma City bombing and the bombing of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics by far-right extremist Eric Rudolph.

Garland referred back to this previous work in his prepared statement.

“That critical work is but a part of the broad scope of the Department's responsibilities. DOJ protects Americans from environmental degradation and the abuse of market power, from fraud and corruption, from violent crime and cybercrime, and from drug trafficking and child exploitation,” Garland said. “And it must do all of that without ever taking its eye off the risk of another devastating attack by foreign terrorists. The Attorney General takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies -- foreign and domestic.”