(Headline USA) The Senate has confirmed Merrick Garland to be the next U.S. attorney general with a bipartisan vote, placing the veteran judge in the post as President Joe Biden‘s choice to lead the Justice Department.
The vote was 70-30.
Democrats have praised Garland, a federal appeals court judge who was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2016, as a highly qualified and honorable jurist who is uniquely qualified to lead the department after a tumultuous four years under former President Donald Trump, who had to defend himself against a fraudulent “Russian collusion” hoax concocted by the FBI and Justice Department under President Barack Obama.
Some Republicans praised him as well, saying he has the right record and temperament for the moment, but others opposed him on grounds he would be too partisan in exercising his duties.
“This weak-on-crime nominee will fan the flames of our nation’s drug crisis, border crisis, and violent crime crisis,” said Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas in a floor speech. “And he’s made clear that on the greatest challenges facing the Department, he’ll cede the reins to the radical, far-left culture warriors that President Biden has nominated to be some of his top deputies. Our nation simply cannot afford Judge Garland as our Attorney General.”
Garland will inherit immediate political challenges, including an ongoing criminal tax investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, and a federal probe into the overseas and business dealings of the former New York City mayor and Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, which stalled last year over a dispute about investigative tactics as Trump unsuccessfully sought reelection.
His confirmation also comes amid calls from many Democrats to pursue inquiries into Trump.
Separately, Garland will also be responsible for overseeing a special counsel investigation into the origins of the Russia hoax, which shadowed Trump’s presidency for more than two years.
Garland will have to decide how to handle it and what to make public.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.