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Garland currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He rose to greater national prominence when then-President Barack Obama nominated him for the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. He never received a hearing, as Republicans chose to wait until after that year's election, allowing President Trump to appoint Justice Neil Gorsuch instead.
Republicans faced intense criticism from Democrats in 2020, when weeks before a presidential election they filled a Supreme Court vacancy by confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Garland has served on the D.C. Circuit since 1997, when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton. He was the court's chief judge from 2013 to 2020. He does have Justice Department experience, having been a special assistant attorney general from 1979 to 1981, a deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ's criminal division from 1993 to 1994, and a principal associate deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997.
If he chooses to accept the nomination and is confirmed as the next attorney general, Garland would be giving up a lifetime appointment to the circuit court.
Other names that had been rumored as possible attorney general candidates had been former Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whom Biden has already chosen as his pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.