U.S. Senate confirms Merrick Garland as Attorney General

Some five years after then-president Obama nominated him for the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland finally won a different job under Joe Biden.

The Senate voted to confirm attorney general nominee Merrick Garland on Wednesday, sending the appellate judge on his mission to uphold the integrity of the Justice Department after its actions over the past years threatened to undermine it. Garland was confirmed in a 70-30 vote.The former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has been praised by members of both parties. He pledged in his nomination hearing last month to "fend off any effort by anyone" to politically influence the Justice Department's investigations, and that his first priority would be to fully prosecute the "heinous" crimes committed in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.

Garland would never have been confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court anyway, because Republicans were in the majority and the chance of them losing that majority during a Clinton presidency was vanishingly unlikely. The thought that we somehow lost out on Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland is the same sad old fantasy that you can work in good faith with the GOP. The only thing lost out on was 54 senators saying "No" on the record.

House leader Chuck Schumer, amazingly, seems to have figured it out, at least generally speaking: "we made a big mistake in 2009-2010" he said of compromises made then to please them (specifically Maine Republican Susan Collins) after the last recession.