U.S. president-elect Joe Biden will introduce Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general on Thursday along with three others he has selected for senior Justice Department positions to “restore the independence” of the agency and faith in the rule of law.
In picking Garland, a federal appeals judge, Biden is turning to an experienced judge who held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, including as a supervisor of the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Garland’s nomination will force Senate Republicans to contend with someone they spurned four years ago — refusing even to hold hearings when President Barack Obama nominated Garland in 2016 for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Biden is banking on Garland’s credentials and reputation for moderation to ensure his confirmation. His confirmation prospects were solidified as Democrats on Wednesday scored control of the Senate majority by winning both Georgia Senate seats.
Garland and the three others Biden has picked for Justice Department leadership posts are being introduced Thursday afternoon in Wilmington, Del.
They include Obama administration homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the No. 3 official. He will also name an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, now the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.
In a statement, Biden said the 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 honour and integrity.”
“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.”