By Jarrett Renshaw and Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters
President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, who was once President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, a Biden transition official said on Wednesday.
Garland serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Obama, a Democrat, nominated him to the Supreme Court while Biden was vice president, but the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate refused to hold hearings on the nomination.
Garland, who has served on the federal appeals bench since 1997, is no stranger to the Justice Department.
Prior to becoming a judge, he worked as a federal prosecutor where he helped secure a conviction against Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing. He was also on the team that helped secure a conviction of former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry for cocaine possession.
In addition to working as a line prosecutor, Garland held other key posts at the Justice Department, including serving as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General to Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick starting in 1994.
Obama nominated Garland in March 2016 to replace long-serving conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13, 2016.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider the nomination on the grounds it should not occur in a presidential election year. The stance has since come under criticism after McConnell this year rushed to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court within weeks of the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.