Attorneydiction.com,- President-elect Joe Biden will nominate federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to become the US attorney general in his administration. A Biden transitional official said on Wednesday that the choice most Americans know of as President Barack Obama’s candidate on the Supreme Court was blocked by Republicans.
Garland, 68, serves as a judge in the US Court of Appeals for the District Circuit of Columbia, one of 13 federal appeals courts. Obama, a former President who is also a Democratic Party politician, nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2016. While Joe Biden became vice president. But the Republican-controlled US Senate refused to hold hearings on the candidacy.
Joe Biden, who has served for two weeks, also took the initiative to nominate a Justice Department veteran. Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, the official said.
Vanita Gupta, chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will be nominated by Biden as Attorney General. Namely the number 3 person in the department, said a second source with knowledge of the matter.
The news comes as Democrats look set to win two seats in the US Senate in Georgia’s second round election to be held on Tuesday. That will give the party control over both houses of Congress. Gives Biden more leeway to enforce his agenda and all in all ensures Garland’s appointment, which requires Senate approval.
During his election campaign, Biden pledged to take steps to end racial disparities in sentences by removing mandatory minimum sentences, ending the use of the federal death penalty, and restoring the Justice Department’s role in investigating and holding the police department accountable for “systemic offenses”.
While many of those initiatives will require approval from Congress. Garland as attorney general will have significant powers to tackle the topic through his policy changes. This includes instructing prosecutors not to seek the death penalty and making prosecution decisions that do not trigger mandatory minimum provisions.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is also the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that Garland “would be the right choice” for the position of attorney general.
“He is a man of great character, integrity, and extraordinary competence in the field of law,” wrote Graham, who would lose his leadership if Democrats win the election in Georgia.
If confirmed, Garland will face some politically sensitive investigative activity from the start.
Delaware federal prosecutors are investigating Joe Biden Hunter’s son for suspected tax issues. And federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating President Donald Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani business dealings in Ukraine.
Garland also needs to face an ongoing investigation by Special Counsel John Durham. Also Trump-appointed federal prosecutors in Connecticut, who are investigating law enforcement and intelligence officials for their investigations into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
William Barr, who appointed a Durham man before ending his term as attorney general last month. Facing criticism for his willingness to intervene in criminal cases in a way that benefits Trump’s political allies, such as Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
Barr has also come under fire from human rights groups and others for his decision to carry out the federal death penalty after being absent for 17 years. And his willingness to use federal agents to quell violence during protests over racial injustice in the police force.
Garland, who has served on the federal appeals bench since 1997, is no stranger to the Department of Justice.
Before working as a judge, he worked as a federal prosecutor and helped secure Timothy McVeigh’s sentence. Namely for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 which killed 168 people. He was also on the team that confirmed former Columbia District Mayor Marion Barry for cocaine possession.
Garland held other important positions in the Department of Justice, including serving as deputy chief attorney general for Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick from 1994.
Obama nominated Garland in March 2016 to replace the long-serving conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who died on February 13, 2016. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, refused to consider the candidacy on the grounds it shouldn’t happen in an election year for the president.
That stance, which was attacked by Democrats at the time, came under further criticism two months before the 2020 presidential election. That is when McConnell rushed to confirm Trump candidate Amy Coney Barrett to win.***