Biden’s pick for attorney general Merrick Garland appears before Senate for confirmation hearings

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to be attorney general, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for the first day of his confirmation hearings, scheduled to continue through the week.

The hearing will be held over two days. Garland’s testimony will be held on the first day, and outside witnesses will be invited to testify on the second day, according to the committee leader. The hearings were delayed amid some disputes as Democrats and Republicans struggled to agree on the distribution of power in the Senate. Garland was denied hearings in 2016, when former President Barack Obama nominated the centrist judge to the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative. The federal appeals court judge is expected to be confirmed swiftly, probably by early March though he could face some questions, mainly from the panel’s Republicans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has indicated that Garland will be questioned about how he will handle the federal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, which relates to the younger Biden’s finances. Hunter Biden has disclosed that federal prosecutors are investigating his “tax affairs.” Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Garland if he had spoken to the President about any Hunter Biden investigations. “I have not,” Garland replied, adding that, “the President made abundantly clear in every public statement before and after my nomination that the decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department. That was the reason that I was willing to take on this job,” Garland said. “So the answer to your question is no.”

If confirmed by the full Senate, Garland will inherit the beginnings of a probe into the storming last month of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the challenge of preventing future domestic attacks. In his remarks, Garland called Jan. 6 a “heinous attack” and said that “battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central” to the Justice Department’s mission. He will also face the task of rebuilding a civil rights enforcement program, promoting initiatives to eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system. “Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change,” he said. Garland, 68, is the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, sometimes called the “second-highest court in the land” in part because of the frequency with which its judges ascend to the Supreme Court just a few blocks away.




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