Almost precisely 5 years after he was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, Judge Merrick Brian Garland lastly bought his Senate affirmation listening to on Monday.
This time round, after all, Garland’s look earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee is to not debate his worthiness as a Supreme Court nominee, however for the Senate to resolve whether or not it can verify him as President Joe Biden’s nominee for lawyer common. Critically, Garland’s destiny will relaxation with a Democrat-controlled Senate (due to these two Georgia runoff races in January), avoiding the obstructionist techniques of former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the architect of his nomination’s demise in February of 2016.
In his opening assertion, Garland didn’t discuss with that disappointment of 2016, when McConnell stored the seat created by the loss of life of Antonin Scalia open till Donald Trump gained that yr’s election and in the end named Neil Gorsuch to the courtroom. Garland did, nevertheless, make an indirect reference to the politicization of the Justice Department throughout the Trump years—significantly underneath the helm of Attorney General William Barr—saying that interval of the division’s historical past would come to an finish underneath the Biden administration.
“It is a fitting time to reaffirm that the role of the attorney general is to serve the rule of law and to ensure equal justice under the law.” Garland mentioned in his eight-minute opening statement. “And it is a fitting time to recognize the more than 115,000 career employees of the department and its law enforcement agencies, and their commitment to serve the cause of justice and protect the safety of our communities. If I am confirmed, serving as attorney general will be the culmination of a career I have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced, and that the rights of all Americans are protected.”
Dick Durbin, the Democratic senator from Illinois and new head of the Judiciary Committee (taking up from the Republican Lindsey Graham), was extra express in his opening remarks, calling Garland’s nomination “one of the most critical in the department’s history,” and one which confronted the daunting process of rebuilding a division whose credibility had been undermined by the former president.
“Judge Garland, should you be confirmed—and I have every confidence that you will be—you will oversee a Justice Department in an existential moment,” Durbin mentioned. “After four tumultuous years of intrigue, controversy, and brute political forces, the future course of the department is clearly in transition. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his successor, Bill Barr, the Justice Department became an arm of the White House, committed to advancing the interests of President Trump, his family, and his political allies,” he mentioned.