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Senate confirms Merrick Garland as attorney general

Senate confirms Merrick Garland as Attorney General: GOP leader Mitch McConnell votes YES – six years after blocking his SCOTUS appointment

  • The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as attorney general Wednesday afternoon in a 70 to 30 vote 
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of Garland, despite holding up his 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court for 10 months 
  • Garland had been chosen by President Barack Obama to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, but McConnell said the voters should weigh in 
  • President Joe Biden nominated Garland after Democrats secured the control of the Senate in the run-up to Biden’s inauguration  

The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as attorney general Wednesday afternoon. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of Garland, after holding up the federal judge’s Supreme Court nomination for 10 months to prevent Democratic President Barack Obama from replacing the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. 

For the top Justice Department job, Garland received a 70 to 30 Senate vote.

The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland on Wednesday to be President Joe Biden’s attorney general with a vote of 70 to 30  

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of Garland for attorney general, after holding up his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 for 10 months

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of Garland for attorney general, after holding up his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 for 10 months 

Merrick Garland was able to earn the votes of all 50 Democrats and an additional 20 Republicans, including the leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell

Merrick Garland was able to earn the votes of all 50 Democrats and an additional 20 Republicans, including the leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell 

Garland became a national political figure in March 2016, when Obama nominated him to fill the seat of Scalia, who had died the month before.  

McConnell, who was then the majority leader, immediately announced that he would block Garland’s nomination, pointing out that it was an election year and the American people should have a ‘voice’ in the process.  

GOP President Donald Trump won the election in November 2016 and picked conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat, making the announcement 11 days after he was sworn in. 

Later, at the end of Trump’s single term, McConnell allowed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to be confirmed eight days before the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won.  

Garland’s name leaked as Biden’s pick for attorney general the morning of the January 6 insurrection. 

The president-elect only finalized the decision after Democrats won the two run-off races in Georgia, securing a Senate majority for when Biden would be sworn-in.  

Despite Garland’s nomination looking like a way Biden was trolling his old Senate colleague McConnell, the AG nominee was able to convince 20 Republicans to vote in his favor. 

Now, he’ll have big decisions to make atop DOJ and he’ll have to fix some of the  reputational damage the agency suffered under Attorney General Bill Barr. 

Garland will have to decide whether to look at Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection as he’s already vowed to fully prosecute the ‘heinous’ crimes. 

He’ll also have to figure out how to handle an FBI probe into Biden’s son Hunter’s taxes.  

During the nomination process, Garland vowed to not let politics seep into the agency. 

‘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,’ Garland said. ‘That was the reason I was willing to take on this job.’   

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a dig at Trump – who had Barr and before him, Jeff Sessions, leading the Justice Department – as he spoke on the floor Wednesday about Garland. 

‘After Donald Trump spent four years – four long years – subverting the powers of the Justice Department for his own political benefit, treating the Attorney General like his own personal defense lawyer, America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department, someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law, and credibility on both sides of the aisle,’ Schumer said. 

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