As Congress is about to descend into hours of debate over the 2020 election results, Joe Biden has made his pick for attorney general. It’s Merrick Garland, the former Obama Supreme Court nominee who was blocked by Senate Republicans in 2016. This move infuriated Democrats who tried to get their revenge by derailing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was eventually confirmed but not after one of the nastiest judicial fights in recent memory. Judge Garland is currently on the DC Court of Appeals (via Associated Press):
President-elect Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge who in 2016 was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court, as his attorney general, two people familiar with the selection process said Wednesday.
In picking Garland, 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. The pick will force Senate Republicans to contend with the nomination of someone they spurned in 2016 — refusing even to hold hearings when a Supreme Court vacancy arose — but Biden may be banking on Garland’s credentials and reputation for moderation to ensure confirmation.
Biden is expected to announce Garland’s appointment on Thursday, along with other senior leaders of the department, including former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general. He will also name an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, the founder of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.
Should sail through with minimal problem. Doug Jones would have gotten a relatively easy ride, too. https://t.co/RLRI2N2BlX— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) January 6, 2021
This shouldn’t be a hard confirmation battle. Over at our sister site Hot Air, Ed says that this will be smooth sailing. I agree. Garland is a career jurist. He’s qualified. I’m not too worried about this pick. The same goes for Biden’s nominee for secretary of defense. Garland is surely a better pick than Sally Yates, the resister in chief at the Department of Justice under Trump, who reportedly was on the shortlist.