Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland, a former nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, has been tapped by the incoming Biden administration to be attorney general, according to sources for several media outlets.
CNN, Politico and the Washington Post reported that Garland, a justice on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, beat out former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates for the nomination.
The nomination also appears to be a sign the Biden administration feels more confident that it will be able to name a replacement for Garland on the appeals court with the possible victories by Raphael Warnock and Joss Ossoff for two Senate seats in Georgia.
Garland was President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court in 2016, but Republicans controlling the Senate refused the hold a hearing from him, leaving the seat open for 422 days, the longest SCOTUS vacancy in history.
Trump eventually picked Neil Gorsuch in 2017 to fill the seat, left by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Garland has been recusing himself from cases involving the federal government, increasing projections Biden was viewing him for the job, but concerns remained high because the Senate remained in control of Republicans, which would have made it difficult to replace him.
Garland had served as principal associate deputy attorney general, leading the investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the investigations of the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta, and the probe into Ted Kaczynski, best known as “The Unabomber.”
The nomination most likely will disappoint some African American supporters who wanted a person of color or someone like Jones with a strong civil rights records.
When Jones was a federal prosecutor in Alabama in the late 1990s, he successfully prosecuted former Ku Klux Klan members in the 1963 bombing of a Black church in Birmingham that killed four young girls.
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