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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4810222

Reported Deaths: 70598
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3636444159
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871372
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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