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Joe Biden is considering Merrick Garland as Attorney General


Joe Biden is considering Obama’s Supreme Court candidate Merrick Garland for AG, four years after Republicans blocked his nomination because it was in an election year

  • NPR reported Friday that Federal Appeals Court judge Merrick Garland is on President-elect Joe Biden’s shortlist for Attorney General 
  • Garland made headlines in 2016 when President Obama nominated him for a vacant Supreme Court seat
  • Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, refused to allow Garland hearings  
  • They claimed an outgoing president shouldn’t be allowed to nominate a justice 

By Maxine Shen For

Published: | Updated:

President-elect Joe Biden is considering Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland for the Attorney General position under his administration, according to a new report. 

Sources told NPR that Garland, 68, is among the names that Biden is considering for the position, which is currently held by William Barr. 

Garland was the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit until his seven-year term ended in February 2020 and continues to be a circuit judge, a position he has held since 1997. 

A new report says that Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland (center with Joe Biden, left, and Barack Obama, right) is on President-elect Biden’s short list for Attorney General

During his legal career, he oversaw the prosecution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombings. 

Garland went on to make headlines in 2016, when President Obama nominated him to serve on the US Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.    

However, Senate Republicans – led by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell – refused to allow Garland a hearing for the position, claiming that Obama should not be able to appoint a justice, as it should be left to the next president to do so.  

Garland’s nomination period expired on January 3, 2017. At the end of the month – just days after being sworn in, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the empty justice position. 

Biden (left) is said to be considering Garland for the position, along with other candidates. Obama nominated Garland for a vacant Supreme Court position, but Senate Republicans refused to allow any hearings to take place. Garland and Obama are pictured in 2016

Gorsuch’s nomination was confirmed by the Republican-led Senate on April 7, 2017. 

Garland’s supporters told NPR that they hoped Garland could help restore confidence in the Justice Department following the chaos seen under the Trump administration. 

Garland is said to be on Biden’s short list for the attorney general position, which is said to include former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates – who Trump fired as acting attorney general in January 2017 during the Muslim Ban debacle – former civil rights chief and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former prosecutor Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.  

Biden’s transition team has not commented on any attorney general position decisions.  


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