TimesVideoWatch Live: Merrick Garland Confirmation Hearing Monday, the two-day confirmation hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to be attorney general, per Reuters.
He then won coveted internships with Henry J. Friendly, a Federal Court of Appeal judge, and Judge William J. Brennan Jr. He rebounded between prestigious jobs in the private and public sectors before landing at Department of Justice, where Ms. Gorelick made him his deputy.
Justice Garland and his wife of 33 years, Lynn Garland, live in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. He maintains a large collection of friends, is a familiar presence at Washington dinners and parties, and adores his former employees.
Former clerk Karen Dunn, now a lawyer in Washington, remembers how the Garlands unexpectedly descended on her with a well-cooked dinner when she returned from the hospital after the birth of her first child. “They brought food, sat and ate with us, cleaned everything up and left,” recalls Dunn.
Judge Garland is now awaiting confirmation from the Senate, probably not his favorite word combination, given the history. But his appointment is unlikely to face serious opposition. Several Republican senators made a point when they said their blockade of Justice Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 2016 was “not personal,” for what it’s worth. (Not a lot, by friends.)
On Friday, a large, bipartisan group of former Justice Department officials and former federal judges sent two letters to Senate leaders asking for Judge Garland’s prompt confirmation. Among them were four former attorneys general: Alberto R. Gonzales and Michael B. Mukasey, who served in the George W. Bush administration, and Eric H. Holder Jr. and Loretta Lynch, who served in the Obama administration. . The group also included Ken Starr, the independent lawyer in charge of the Whitewater investigation.
At the very least, friends said, becoming attorney general would free Judge Garland from the purgatory of reputation to be defined by his ordeal on the Supreme Court. “It’s interesting how fate sometimes works,” said J. Gilmore Childers, lawyer and colleague at the Department of Justice in Oklahoma City. “Merrick Garland may be the perfect person to do this job, right now.”
The decision to appoint Judge Garland seemed similar to the one Gerald R. Ford made in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Mr Ford appointed Edward H. Levi, a university president whose political leanings were unclear, to take over in restoring the credibility of the Justice Department. Democrats and Republicans later praised Mr. Levi’s ability to apolitically fix the department.
Judge Garland will likely face pressure to also try to steer the ministry’s priorities away from the Trump administration’s focus on immigration and violent crime toward issues Democrats have generally prioritized, such as police reviews and voting rights. But Judge Garland will also have to make decisions on how to handle the tax investigation into Mr Biden’s son, Hunter. Republicans, still angry with the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, called on the Justice Department to appoint a special lawyer to investigate the case.
Mr. Garland, United States Court of Appeals Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, was appointed by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the post left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia. While the nomination dismayed some Liberals, Senate Republicans – led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – refused to vote on her nomination, saying it should not be fulfilled in an election year.
Ultimately, President Trump held the post with Judge Neil Gorsuch, a conservative in the mold of Judge Scalia.
Judge Garland’s career was significantly affected by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. Mr. Garland, a Justice Department official at the time, played a direct role in the Clinton administration’s response.
President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997, and served as its chief justice from 2013 to February 2020. Although the court is often considered the second most important in the country, after the Supreme Court, its idiosyncratic role is dominated by cases involving regulatory agencies and tends to include few major controversies on social issues.
On the ground, Judge Garland has won praise from all political walks of life for the exceptional quality of his opinions, which are considered models of the judicial profession – methodically reasoned, clear, attentive to precedent and closely linked to the language of relevant laws and regulations.