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 Current Position:

Nominee for Attorney General






Harvard, Harvard Law School


We all know what Merrick Garland has been through. He was former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court in 2016, but Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — then the majority leader — wouldn’t even give him a hearing, let alone a vote. This came after a highly esteemed career at the Justice Department — he was tapped as a federal prosecutor by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush — and in private practice. Garland was nominated for the federal bench by then President Bill Clinton and confirmed by a vote of 76-23 in 1997. That’s quite the healthy margin. Garland currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of the most important roles in the federal judiciary. He was chief justice of that panel for three years. Republicans and Democrats respect Garland and consider him a fair jurist with an excellent legal mind.

 Political Considerations:

Garland is taking the helm at the Justice Department during a very precarious time. He’ll have to juggle the demands of a critical moment in the civil rights movement, calls for overhauling federal law enforcement and the need to restore trust in an independent law-enforcement institution. Garland has said publicly that he wants to take the temperature down at the department and help restore the fundamental health of democracy. There are plenty of tripwires for him. He’s been asked on several occasions hugely sensitive political issues — Should it still be illegal to cross the U.S.-Mexico border? Will former President Donald Trump come under a federal probe? How will he handle the Durham investigation into the origin of the Russia probe? The DOJ is in the lead of investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, another issue with big political ramifications.

 Inside his orbit:

 Words of Wisdom:

I’ve known Merrick Garland for about 40 years … So I can tell you with total conviction, he doesn’t need advice. What I would say is simply stay true to your gut, your instincts and your convictions because they are rock solid and sound. Hire the best possible team, but at the end of the day, be true to your own beliefs and gut instincts. … He has a herculean task to restore the integrity and independence of the Justice Department. There are very few people in this country who could do it, he’s one of them. That’s why I would urge him to simply to stay true to his own north star.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)


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