Report: Biden to pick Merrick Garland for AG

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Judge Merrick Garland to serve as United States attorney general, two people familiar with knowledge of the decision told Politico in a report published Wednesday afternoon.

Garland, a political moderate, is most well known for being President Barack Obama’s pick in 2016 to replace Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia after he passed away. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, blocked confirmation hearings on Garland’s nomination, holding out until President Donald Trump was elected later that year in November.

Ultimately, Trump successfully appointed Neil Gorsuch, an originalist, to the Supreme Court, followed by two other originalist justices: Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. These appointments will most certainly leave conservatives with a strong grip on the court for the decades after Trump soon leaves office.

Depending on if Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff beats Sen. David Perdue (R) in his Senate runoff election in Georgia, which Ossoff is overwhelmingly favored to win, Democrats will gain a majority in the upper chamber, with control over 50 of the 100 seats in the upper chamber and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. If Republicans unexpectedly maintain their Senate majority, Garland, a source of ire for conservatives, would likely have a brutal confirmation process.

Garland, who has been serving as the chief judge on the crucial United States Court of Appeals in D.C., will head the U.S. Department of Justice if successfully confirmed by the U.S. Senate, beating out Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates for Biden’s nomination. No replacement for Garland on the appellate court has been announced.

Politico reports that, in a GOP-controlled Senate, Jones was seen as the easiest person to get confirmed because of his strong relationships with Republicans. Meanwhile, the report says that Garland was accordingly viewed as a risk because of a foreseen challenge of confirming a replacement for him on the D.C. appellate court.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

Share: