By Quentin Choy
March 10, 2021
Merrick Garland was confirmed by the United States Senate to be the Attorney General, leading the Department of Justice during the Biden Presidency. The Senate voted 70-30, confirming the former judge to the highest legal position in the country.
Garland is notable since he was appointed by former President Barack Obama to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2016 following the death of former Justice Antonin Scalia. The Republicans in the Senate at the time refused to hold a hearing over Garland’s nomination, and his nomination went unacknowledged for 293 days with Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell. McConnell told Obama directly that “you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy,” a moment that proved to be one of the most influential decisions of McConnell’s life, allowing Donald Trump to fill the vacancy with Neil Gorsuch.
McConnell’s denial of Democratic-appointed nominees stems from his history in the Senate seeing Republican nominees fall such as Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and Brett Kavanaugh, all of whom were either criticized harshly by Senate Democrats or who had to confront sexual assault allegations in public hearings which embarrassed McConnell.
While Garland may have been denied a seat on the Supreme Court, he now sits in the most powerful legal position in America. Garland’s confirmation to be the U.S. Attorney General concludes the battle five years in the making, shifting him to a different position of power rather than fading away into irrelevancy.
Image Courtesy of HuffPost.