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Judge Merrick Garland is Joe Biden’s Choice for Attorney General
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President-elect Joe Biden has announced his nominations for the attorney general as well as other senior members of the Justice Department. Biden has nominated federal appeals judge Merrick Garland as his formal choice for the role of the United States Attorney General. In 2016, when Biden served as the Vice-President, former President Obama had nominated Garland to the Supreme Court, but his nomination was blocked by the Republican controlled Senate. However, this time, with the expectations of Democrats controlling the Senate, his nomination is anticipated to be cleared easily. He has also served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration.

Garland, 68, currently serves at the US Court of Appeals at the District of Columbia. Garland has a reputation for being politically moderate and is considered by many as a centrist judge. The choice to appoint a politically neutral judge as the attorney general is seen by many as a reflection of Biden’s approach to have a politically independent Justice Department. If appointed as the attorney general, Garland will have to assume responsibility of a Justice Department that became increasingly politicized during Trump administration. He will also take decisions regarding how the Department will proceed with the tax investigations into Biden’s son and whether investigations will be conducted against Trump and his cabinet members, associates and aides. The unprecedented events that took place in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and the riots caused by Trump supporters might impact his decision.

Commenting on Garland’s nomination and calling him “a consensus-building voice”, a statement from Biden’s team stated, “Judge Garland’s nomination underscores the President-elect’s commitment to restore integrity and the rule of law, boost morale of the dedicated career professionals at DOJ, and build a more equitable justice system that serves all Americans.” Merrick Garland was chosen over former senator Doug Jones and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates.


Alongside Garland, Lisa Monaco has been nominated to the post of deputy attorney general. First woman head of the National Security Division, Monaco has also served as homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser to the then President Barack Obama. She also co-chairs the Data Security and Privacy group at O’Melveny. She also served as Chief of Staff to former FBI Director, Robert S. Mueller, III. She is also a recipient of the Justice Department’s highest award, Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, for her work on the Enron Task Force.

Biden has also nominated Indian-American Vanita Gupta, a well-known civil rights attorney and former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general during the Obama administration as the associate attorney general. Gupta will become the first woman of control to serve on this post.

Kristen Clarke, a renowned civil rights lawyer, and president of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has been nominated as the associate attorney general for civil rights. Commenting on her nomination, Clarke tweeted, “This job is about justice. It’s about equality. And under our DOJ we’ll move closer to the TRUE meaning of equal justice under law.”

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These nominations bought an end to weeks of contemplation by the President-elect, who received requests and representations from various civil rights groups, civil rights leaders and progressives regarding their preferences for the nominations to roles in the Justice Department. Commenting on the nominations, Biden’s transition team tweeted, “This team will work to move us closer to the American ideal of equal justice under law. They will work to restore independence of the Justice Department, always follow facts and the law, and serve and protect the American people with integrity.”




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