Merrick Garland Biden elects Attorney General

The attorney general, along with other senior executives at the Department of Justice, is expected to announce on Thursday at the earliest when Biden gets closer to filling the remaining seats in the cabinet before taking power on Jan. 20.

Biden Lisa Monaco, a former national security adviser to the Obama administration who became Biden’s close aide, was chosen as the deputy attorney general by a person who knows the decision.

President-elect Vanita Gupta, who was Deputy Mayor of the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and headed the Department of Civil Rights in the Department of Justice, as Attorney General, and Kristen Clarke, President and CEO. By law, the National Bar Association for Civil Rights is an assistant to the Attorney General for Civil Rights, the person said.

Garland was chosen by Attorney General Biden to replace former Alabama senator Doug Jones and former attorney-at-law Sally Yates, two other finalists in the post.

While Garland has been the number one contestant for weeks, the vacancy he has chosen is a cause for concern for Biden and many advisors who have been signaled by Senate Republicans to block the nomination for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But as Democrats prepared to control the Senate after two run-down races in Georgia, these concerns allayed.

“Judge Garland will now be seen in a whole new light,” one of Biden’s top allies tells CNN.

Politico first reported on the selection.

Late last month, Biden told reporters he did not wait for his decision until the Georgian races were over. But that’s exactly what he’s doing this week. Advisers insist that a number of factors led to Garland’s decision, but acknowledged that Biden’s long, often criticized deliberation did indeed pay off in this case.

Garland, who has left cases on the bench in recent weeks to prepare for the prospects for the nomination, has been a consistently leading contender for the past two months since Biden won the election.

The revelation that a federal investigation is underway into the tax and business affairs of Hunter Biden, the son of the president-elect, also contributed to Garland’s proponents.

Garland’s advocates believed it would be a particularly strong choice to lead the Department of Justice in the post-Trump era because they see it as a political rebuke of party politics. He is described by some allies as a “scout” intended to suggest that he is not considered a political figure.

In the end, a combination of factors guided the decision, but people familiar with the case said it was largely due to how Biden said Garland could rise above politics in the post-Trump era.

President Donald Trump’s increasing post-election antics have solidified Biden’s view of Garland’s election, say people skilled in the matter, as Biden believes the nation demands competence and longs for unity.

Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court after he was vacated due to the 2016 death of Judge Antonin Scalia. But Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, refused for months to hold confirmatory hearings or hold the necessary vote in the chamber.

When Trump took office, Garland’s nomination expired and he returned to the position of Chief Justice of the DC Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The task of the court is to review the challenges facing the administration. He resigned as Chief Justice in February 2020, but continues to work in court. He was appointed to court in 1997 by President Bill Clinton.

Prior to his appointment as a U.S. district judge, Garland was a deputy attorney general. He oversaw an investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma city bombing, which killed more than 160 people and injured hundreds more. Garland also led the investigation into the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta, in which two people were killed and more than 100 injured.

Garland led the investigation against Ted Kaczynski, aka “The Unabomber,” who is currently serving eight life sentences for murder. He killed three people and injured more than 20 people in a series of postal blasts.

From 1989 to 1992, the judge served as U.S. Assistant Attorney for the District of Columbia, USA, and from 1993 to 1994 as Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

Garland’s nomination is a disappointment to those who put pressure on Biden to appoint a colored person as Attorney General.

Biden and elected Vice President Kamala Harris met last month with civil rights leaders and NAACP members who put pressure on Biden to diversify his cabinet and create a job in the White House for a civil rights tsar. Rev. Al Sharpton said at a post-meeting press conference that Biden should choose a lawyer with a civil law background and said he would choose him as the black candidate.

Sharpton said former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Tony West, the senior vice president and chief legal officer of Uber, who was previously the Attorney General of the U.S. Obama administration, were mentioned as potential selectors.

Clarke said at the same press conference that whoever is elected attorney general must “have a clear and bold record when it comes to civil rights and racial justice.”

We have updated this story with additional reports and background information about Garland.