Biden’s Attorney General Pick Confirmed

( President Joe Biden now has his attorney general.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 70-30 to confirm Biden’s nominee, Merrick Garland. The appellate judge will now rise to the highest judicial position in the nation

Garland is a former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. It’s one of the most prominent appellate courts in the nation, and is often tasked with a lot of high-profile national cases.

For the most part, Garland has received support from members of both political parties, and while 30 members voted against him, it was a relatively smooth confirmation process.

During his nomination hearing in February, he pledged to “fend off any effort by anyone” to influence the Department of Justice’s investigations. He said his first priority in office would be to prosecute to the fullest the “heinous” crimes that were committed during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

At one point, Garland was a strong consideration for the Supreme Court. In fact, he’s the infamous nominee that was put forth by then-President Barack Obama in 2016 that the Senate, controlled by Republicans, refused to consider. Mitch McConnell, who was serving as majority leader at the time, decline to give Garland a confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court since it was an election year.

Five years later, McConnell backed Garland for his position as attorney general. Before making his vote, he said:

“I’m voting to confirm Judge Garland because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert. His left-of-center perspective has been within the legal mainstream.

“When confirmed, Judge Garland must not back other constitutionally-corrosive efforts to effectively repeals laws just by ignoring them.”

Following the confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said:

“America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department.”

Garland is “someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle,” he said.

The new attorney general will immediately be faced with some potentially politically-charged issues. One is how far to dig into the insurrection on January 6, and whether to probe into the role of former President Donald Trump.

Another is how to handle the current federal probe into the president’s son, Hunter Biden. In Delaware, federal investigators have been diving into multiple financial issues. They are examining whether Hunter violated any money laundering or tax laws regarding his business dealings in some foreign countries.

Another big issue is the FBI investigation into Russia. During his confirmation hearing, Garland said he didn’t have “any reason to think” John Durham, the special counsel assigned to the case, “should not remain in place.”

Garland said:

“The President made abundantly clear in every public statement before and after my nomination that decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department. That was the reason that I was willing to take on this job.

“I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution. The country took us in and protected us. I feel an obligation to the country to pay back.”