President-elect Joe Biden has selected federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to be the next United States attorney general, a transition official has confirmed. Garland has served on the federal appeals bench since 1997 and previously worked as a federal prosecutor, most prominently securing the conviction of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh during his time with the Justice Department.
Garland is perhaps most well known for the debacle that ensued after he was nominated by former President Barack Obama to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Garland’s nomination came after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the court’s most prominent conservative voice. At the time, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, refused to hold confirmation hearings for Garland, arguing that the pick should not be considered during an election year.
However, McConnell reversed course once President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, ultimately seating Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, securing a conservative majority on the court. McConnell rushed to confirm Barrett in particular following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ignoring his previous statement about confirming a Supreme Court Justice during an election year.
“Judge Garland will be viewed in a whole new light now,” a Biden aide told CNN.
Biden last month told reporters that he would not wait until the results of the Georgia runoffs to make his decision for attorney general.