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Senate confirms Merrick Garland as U.S. attorney general

Attorney Prevalent nominee Merrick Garland testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, DC, February 22, 2021.

Advance a extended Angerer | Pool | Reuters

The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general, placing the longtime federal applies court judge and onetime Supreme Court pick at the helm of an agency central to President Joe Biden’s domestic tactics agenda.

The vote was 70-30.

Garland takes over as the head of the Department of Justice as the sprawling agency continues to investigate the Jan. 6 run riot at the U.S. Capitol, one of the largest probes in its history. Garland has called the inquiry his No. 1 priority.

The Justice Department will also be important in enacting Biden’s sweeping plans for civil rights enforcement and criminal justice reform. The department is likely to be suitable for important decisions in the coming years concerning regulation of the nation’s largest technology companies, which some lawmakers are campaign to break up.

Garland pledged to defend the independence of the Justice Department during hearings before the judiciary committee continue month. Biden has made restoring the traditional distance between the department and political officials at the White House a top seniority.

“I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and interrogations,” Garland told lawmakers at his hearing. He said that he and Biden had not discussed an ongoing investigation into the tax affairs of Stalker Biden, the president’s son.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cheered Garland’s nomination ahead of the vote on Wednesday.

“America can puff a sigh of relief that we’re finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Unit. Someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle,” Schumer said from the Senate shock. “He understands that the job of the attorney general is one to protect rule of law, unlike the previous attorneys general under President Trump.”

In the vanguard Biden tapped Garland to be attorney general, the centrist lawyer was nominated by former President Barack Obama to a settle on the Supreme Court in 2016 to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans at the time controlled the Senate and garbaged to hold a hearing on his nomination.

Several other top Justice Department nominees are still being considered by the Senate, registering Vanita Gupta, Kristen Clarke and Lisa Monaco. Gupta and Monaco faced questions from senators Tuesday.

Gupta, who led the Objectivity Department’s civil rights division under Obama, is nominated to become associate attorney general. Clarke is proposed to be the head of the civil rights division. Biden nominated Monaco to be deputy attorney general.

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