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

Nearly five years after Senate Republicans refused to grant Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGarland vows fight against voting limits that violate law House Democrats push Garland for immigration court reforms Jeff Hauser: MacBride nomination is a return to administrations that ended 'rule-of-law' and 'rich-person accountability' 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 BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president 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 McConnellWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE (R-Ky.) did not allow a hearing on the nomination, citing the presidential election eight months later. 

Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchGorsuch, Thomas join liberal justices in siding with criminal defendant Supreme Court justice denies Colorado churches' challenge to lockdown authority Democrats: Roe v. Wade blow would fuel expanding Supreme Court 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 DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president 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 CornynBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Bipartisan Senate group announces infrastructure deal McConnell: 'Good chance' for infrastructure deal after talks unravel 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 DurhamGarland stresses independence in first speech at DOJ Senate votes to confirm Garland as attorney general Special counsel investigating Russia probe to retire as US attorney 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 BarrTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election Tim Scott: Could be 'very hard' to reach police reform deal by June deadline 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.”