Political insiders have revealed that President-elect Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland to be his attorney general.
Garland, the chief justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to fill the void left by Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prevented Garland’s nomination from moving forward, enabling President Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch successfully in January 2017.
Pundits initially speculated that Biden had his sights set on former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) or former deputy attorney general Sally Yates. Now that Rev. Raphael Warnock is projected to have defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Jon Ossoff is leading Republican Sen. David Perdue, both due to lower than needed GOP turnout, the president-elect has more freedom.
Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth and John L. Dorman have more:
The news is a remarkable development for the jurist, whose 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Senate Republicans. This time, getting him confirmed as the attorney general — and nominating a judge to replace him on the bench — is likely be easier for Biden, given that Democrats are poised to effectively control the Senate following the two hotly contested runoff elections in Georgia this week.
McConnell later boasted about the blockade. “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy,'” he said in August 2016.
Garland stepped away from hearing active cases in the DC circuit court after his nomination but returned to the bench in January 2017, when President Donald Trump was sworn in.