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Senate confirms Merrick Garland as US attorney general

Merrick Garland
Posted at 2:50 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 14:56:11-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate has voted 70-30 to confirm Merrick Garland as the nation’s attorney general.

With Wednesday’s bipartisan vote, the federal appeals court judge will head the Department of Justice five years after being passed over for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2016, Garland was nominated by former President Barack Obama to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but Republicans in the majority refused to hold a hearing or bring his nomination to a vote.

As Garland steps into his new role, he’ll be tasked with overseeing several high-profile cases, including many related to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

During his confirmation hearing, he told senators that his first order of business will be the sprawling investigation into the riot, which left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Garland also vowed to stamp out the rising threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S. and restore Americans’ faith in the Justice Department.

With Garland in this role, President Joe Biden has said he hopes to depoliticize the department and restore the traditional barriers between it and the White House on criminal matters, barriers that were weakened during the Trump presidency.

As attorney general, Garland is seventh in line in the presidential succession, behind Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.