On Wednesday the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland to serve as President Joe Biden’s attorney general. Garland was confirmed in a 70-30 vote, five years after he was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Barack Obama.
Garland, a former federal prosecutor before becoming a judge on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., said during his confirmation hearing that overseeing the prosecution of supporters of former President Donald Trump who took part in the Jan. 6 riot at the capitol would be the agency’s top priority. He also said the Justice Department will work to correct racial and social inequality in the justice system, address an upswing in violent crime in some of the nation’s largest cities and could be open to federal gun control reforms, while dismissing calls to defund police.
Garland was selected by Obama to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in March 2016, however, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators blocked his nomination, declaring that the winner of that year’s presidential election should fill the vacancy. McConnell cast a vote to confirm Garland on Wednesday, citing his “long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert.”
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