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Senate confirms Merrick Garland as attorney general

The Senate voted to confirm attorney general nominee M...

Posted: Mar 10, 2021 12:31 PM

The Senate voted to confirm attorney general nominee Merrick Garland on Wednesday, sending the appellate judge on his mission to uphold the integrity of the Justice Department after its actions over the past years threatened to undermine it.

Garland was confirmed in a 70-30 vote.

The former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has been praised by members of both parties. He pledged in his nomination hearing last month to "fend off any effort by anyone" to politically influence the Justice Department's investigations, and that his first priority would be to fully prosecute the "heinous" crimes committed in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.

"America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. He called Garland "someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle."

Garland will soon face politically charged questions at the Justice Department, including whether the Justice Department should wade into former President Donald Trump's role in the Capitol riot, and how to handle a federal probe into Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Federal investigators in Delaware have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries. Garland said last month that he had not spoken to the President about the case.

Garland also could oversee the investigation of the FBI's Russia probe. But he said in his nomination hearing that he didn't have "any reason to think" that special counsel John Durham "should not remain in place."

"The President made abundantly clear in every public statement before and after my nomination that decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department," said Garland. "That was the reason that I was willing to take on this job."

In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked his nomination, claiming that the public should vote for the next president to decide the lifelong appointment. But in September 2020, then-President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. And on October 26, about a week before Election Day, she was confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.

McConnell said he voted to confirm Garland's nomination as attorney general "because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert," calling his "left-of-center perspective" within "the legal mainstream."

McConnell said he discussed with Garland the federal investigation of the Capitol riot to overturn Congress' certification of the 2020 election and that law enforcement "needs to continue the work of identifying, arresting, and prosecuting those who broke the law." He urged Garland to treat "with equal seriousness" the "political violence" of the Left, and also to oppose efforts by the Biden administration to skirt Congress and use its executive power to create programs like DACA.

"When confirmed, Judge Garland must not back other constitutionally-corrosive efforts to effectively repeal laws just by ignoring them," said McConnell.

Before becoming a judge, Garland served under President Bill Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and led the Justice Department investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Garland said at his hearing that the current threat from White supremacists is a "more dangerous period than we faced at that time." He also gave a brief, yet emotional, anecdote in response to a question about his family's history in confronting hate and discrimination. Garland fought back tears as he explained why leading the Justice Department was important to him.

"I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution," said Garland. "The country took us in and protected us. I feel an obligation to the country to pay back."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 195884

Reported Deaths: 2590
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38744593
Washington25768233
Marion22259309
Clackamas17723214
Lane13154149
Jackson10959141
Deschutes920075
Umatilla823684
Linn503468
Yamhill450376
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Polk379453
Malheur353063
Josephine337271
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Crook114022
Morrow111316
Clatsop9958
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Grant5236
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Harney3498
Wallowa1855
Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3769827

Reported Deaths: 62699
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Los Angeles123756124120
Riverside2997934594
San Bernardino2972614724
San Diego2791453742
Orange2712965031
Santa Clara1190982098
Kern1093201376
Sacramento1051641693
Fresno1019871690
Alameda881571668
Ventura811021017
San Joaquin733101394
Contra Costa68976805
Stanislaus623101061
Tulare49830840
Monterey43662382
San Mateo42063570
San Francisco36808546
Santa Barbara34391459
Solano33011253
Merced31919461
Sonoma30071321
Imperial28516729
Kings23017246
Placer22720293
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16483242
Santa Cruz16275206
Marin14079227
Yolo13938211
Shasta12175226
Butte12140192
El Dorado10193113
Napa989182
Sutter9445113
Yuba628549
San Benito607463
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Nevada475575
Tuolumne413967
Humboldt413542
Mendocino412749
Amador366747
Lake348943
Glenn240125
Siskiyou225525
Colusa223616
Calaveras213654
Inyo142838
Del Norte13988
Mono12844
Plumas7186
Modoc5014
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