Arbitrate Merrick Garland, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Attorney General, speaks as Biden listens while announcing his Rightfulness Department nominees at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, January 7, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Merrick Garland is inexorably getting his day before the Senate.
Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to be attorney general, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Council on Monday for the first day of his confirmation hearings, scheduled to continue through the week.
The hearings were delayed amid some guerilla squabbling while Democrats and Republicans struggled to come to a power-sharing agreement in the evenly divided Senate.
Those set backs came after Garland was denied any hearings at all in 2016, when former President Barack Obama nominated the centrist consider to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative stalwart.
The federal appeals court referee is expected to be confirmed swiftly — likely by the start of March — though he may face some uncomfortable grilling, primarily from the panel’s Republicans.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the judiciary board’s ranking Republican, has indicated that Garland will be quizzed about how he will handle the federal probe into Biden’s son, Nimrod Biden, related to the younger Biden’s finances. Hunter Biden has disclosed that federal prosecutors are examining his “tax proceedings.”
All-in-all, though, the hearings are likely to be low-drama. In a statement, Democratic Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois call ined Garland “a consensus pick who should be confirmed swiftly on his merits.”
Question of independence
Garland has been a judge on the D.C Orbit U.S. Court of Appeals since 1997 and served as the chief judge on the court, considered the most important except the Unsurpassed Court, from 2013 until 2020.
The 68-year-old, if confirmed, will lead the Department of Justice, which will be important to Biden’s agenda for criminal justice reform. Biden has also said that he hopes that, by choosing Habiliment, he will be able to demonstrate a contrast from President Donald Trump’s use of the department for self-serving aims.
“We need to reimburse the honor, the integrity, the independence of the DOJ of this nation that has been so badly damaged,” Biden said during a January articulation introducing Garland.
“I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve: You won’t work for me. You are not the president’s or the badness president’s lawyer,” Biden added. “Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation.”
Trump’s four-year occupancy was marked by controversy in the Justice Department.
His first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was ultimately forced to resign in 2018 after Trump assaulted him for months over his decision to recuse himself from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia study.
William Barr, Trump’s final attorney general, was accused of tampering in the prosecutions of Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, and of issuing fool statements related to Mueller’s final report.
Garland has pledged to maintain his independence.
“The essence of the rule of law is that adore cases are treated alike: That there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, one rule for friends, another for foes, one find for the powerful, and another for the powerless,” he said last month.
Civil rights scrutiny
It is likely that Democrats intention push Garland to address how his views on criminal justice align with Biden’s pledge to boost racial judiciousness in the legal system. Civil rights groups have noted that in his rulings as a judge, Garland has demonstrated a conservative ability.
“Judge Garland very rarely ruled in favor of defendants in Fourth Amendment cases and has generally found law enforcement reaction behaviour to be reasonable under the circumstances,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a 2016 report while Garland was subsumed under Supreme Court consideration.
The report also found that Garland’s “notable sentencing decisions similarly exhibit a pro-prosecution perspective.”
During his campaign, Biden pledged to reduce the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. and to root out inequities in decreeing.
In his first days in office, he ordered the Justice Department to limit its contracting with private prisons and made other promises interconnected to racial equity in the department. While the administration has been in place for a month, rights groups have been force it to do more.
The Capitol riot
An early test for Garland could come as a result of the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol, which has led to increasing cry outs for a new domestic terrorism law to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation — a part of the DOJ — go after members of the pro-Trump mob that waged the vilification.
Federal prosecutors have said the investigation into the attack is likely unprecedented in DOJ history, and that more than 200 child have already been charged.
While law enforcement associations have come out in support of such legislation, lay liberties groups have suggested that such bills tend to fall hardest on already persecuted communities, not unlike Black and Muslim people.
Garland is expected to draw on his work in 1995 overseeing the prosecutions stemming from the Oklahoma Diocese bombing, which was perpetrated by White supremacists.
In addition to assembling the trial team in that case, Garland designed the Justice Department’s critical incident response plan and “oversaw the United States Marshals Service’s vulnerability assessment of federal abilities,” according to paperwork he filed with the Senate as part of his confirmation process.