Biden to Name Merrick Garland, Obama's Foiled Supreme Court Pick, as Attorney General

Discussed his Jewish heritage after his nomination, Judge Garland credited his grandparents for 'fleeing antisemitism and hoping to make a better life for their children in America'

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
In this file photo, Merrick Garland waits for a meeting with U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 28, 2016.
In this file photo, Merrick Garland waits for a meeting with U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 28, 2016. Credit: Brendan Smialowski / AFP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden reportedly will tap Judge Merrick Garland – whose 2016 appointment to the Supreme Court was torpedoed by Senate Republicans – to serve as his attorney general.

Garland’s nomination, first reported by Politico, comes as Democrats are set to win both Senate seats in the Georgia runoff elections, creating a much easier path for confirmation. Biden will also be empowered to fill Garland’s seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arguably the second-most important court in the land.

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Garland was nominated by President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Antonin Scalia nine months before the 2016 election.

The Senate Republican majority unprecedently refused to hold a hearing or a vote on Garland’s nomination. His seat was eventually filled by Neil Gorsuch after Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory.

The 63-year-old Garland has worked in Washington since the 1970s, first as a Supreme Court clerk, then a private lawyer, an assistant U.S. attorney and, since 1997, a federal judge. Born to a Jewish mother and a Protestant father, Garland was raised as a Jew in predominately Jewish suburbs of Chicago.

He discussed his Jewish heritage after his nomination, saying, “My family deserves much of the credit for the path that led me here. My grandparents left the Pale of Settlement at the border of western Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, fleeing antisemitism and hoping to make a better life for their children in America.”

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