Biden Officially Introduces Garland, DOJ Veterans as Nominees Federal Judge Merrick Garland after being nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden on January 07, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 07 January 2021 03:35 PM
President-elect Joe Biden, while formally introducing Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee for attorney general Thursday, said that after the past four years under President Donald Trump, the integrity and honor of the Department of Justice must be restored.
Garland, who was blocked by Senate Republicans in 2016 when President Barack Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court, is likely to be confirmed after Democrats secured control of the chamber's majority this week when the party's candidates won both seats in Georgia's runoff races Tuesday.
Biden also introduced his picks for Justice Department leadership posts Thursday, including Obama administration homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco for deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general. In addition, Biden named Kristen Clarke, now the president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group, as assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Several other finalists had been under consideration, including former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and ex-Sen. Doug Jones.
Garland, who has held senior positions at the Justice Department including supervising the prosecution in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing case, said Thursday that if confirmed, he looks forward to working with Biden's other nominees, all DOJ veterans, as that will be a "homecoming for me."
"My very first job after serving as a judicial law clerk was to work as a special assistant to then-Attorney General Ben Civiletti, the first attorney general appointed after Watergate had enunciated the norms that would ensure the department's adherence to the civil law," said Garland. "Those policies included guaranteeing the Independence of the department from partisan influence in law enforcement investigations, regulating communications with the white house, (and) establishing guidelines for FBI investigations.
He signaled that if confirmed, he will reaffirm those policies and to stress that "our law is not the instrument of partisan purpose."
He also discussed his various roles, including work with every component of the DOJ "in issues ranging from civil rights and antitrust, to domestic terrorism and national security."