Judge Merrick Garland breezed through another step toward his affirmation since U.S. Attorney General on Monday, winning bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee paving the way for an upcoming Senate vote.
Widely respected by each side of the aisle, Garland’s title might have been Supreme Court justice had former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Not obstructed a hearing and a vote on his confirmation roughly half a decade ago. McConnell had mentioned a supposed habit that justices should not be verified in the final year of a presidential term, a rule he afterwards disregarded during the affirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, however President Joe Biden finished up his former boss Barack Obama’s work with a new nomination–this time, for attorney general.
Last week, Garland handed his first Senate audition with praise from bipartisan lawmakers and witnesses, and his vote revealed that consensus: 15-7.
If confirmed by the Senate, as is widely anticipated to take place, Garland signaled he will bring his experience prosecuting the Oklahoma City bombing cases to the countless instances that include the U.S. Capitol insurrection docket.
“From 1995 to 1997, I chased the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who had sought to ignite a revolution which could topple the national authorities,” Garland said in his opening remarks last week, drawing on the parallels several other legal observers had made.
Garland promised Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who was also a prosecutor, he wouldn’t hesitate to look”upstream” for participants in the siege who might not have been in the building on that day.
“We begin with the people on the floor and we work our way up to people involved and further involved,” Garland told the senator past week. “We will pursue those leads wherever they accept us. That’s the task of a prosecution”
Multiple Republican senators pushed Garland to commit to letting John Durham end up his probe into the origins of this Russia investigation, only to be rebuffed by the judge, that had been unwilling to make any conclusions prior to really holding the job of attorney general. Durham then reverted as U.S. Attorney but stated he’d see out that stunt as a special counselor.
The Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, voiced dismay that Garland wouldn’t make that commitment before assuming his position as attorney general and claimed the judge’s credibility would be at stake on that issue.
“It will be up to him from keeping the Justice Department from turning in the Social Justice Department,” Grassley said. “I intend to vote for him. I expect my trust for him isn’t misplaced.”
The Committee’s Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Applauded the progress of a”person of extraordinary qualifications”
“His life has been dedicated to public service and progressing values that are essential to the Justice Department’s working –integrity, independence, fidelity to the rule of law, and a commitment to equal justice for all,” Durbin said. “The country requires this kind of selflessness in a nominee. America will be better with this kind of person directing the Justice Department.”