The United States Senate has confirmed Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general on March 10 with a vote of 70-30.
Garland will serve as the head of the Justice Department as it continues to conduct the investigation on the riots at the Capitol last Jan. 6, which is the largest probe in history involving hundreds of cases across the country.
Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has pledged that the Capitol riots investigation will be his top priority and that his first formal briefing will be bringing those who stormed the Capitol to justice.
Garland has also pledged to defend the independence of the department and to depoliticize it after four years under former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Under the Trump administration, the department faced political scandals and allegations that its leaders, such as former Attorney General William Barr, used their power to help Trump and his allies.
“I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations,” Garland said at his confirmation hearing.
Pledging to act in the interests of the American people, Garland said, “I am not the president’s lawyer. I am the United States’ lawyer.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised Garland’s nomination ahead of the vote, saying that he is “someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law, and credibility on both sides of the aisle.”
“He understands that the job of the attorney general is one to protect rule of law, unlike the previous attorneys general under President Trump,” Schumer added.
Garland’s confirmation as attorney general comes five years after Republicans blocked him as former President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
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