WASHINGTON – The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Merrick Garland, a former appeals court judge and candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, to serve as President Joe Biden’s attorney general.
Garland was confirmed in a 70-33 vote.
Garland earned bipartisan praise during his confirmation hearing last month, where he vowed to keep politics out of the Justice Department and to prosecute people behind the “heinous attack” on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I don’t care who pressures me in any direction,” Garland said, according to CNN. “The Department, if I am confirmed, will be under my protection for the purpose of preventing any kind of partisan or other improper motive in making any kind of investigation or prosecution. That’s my vow. That’s the only reason I’m willing to do this job.”
Garland served as a judge for more than two decades before being nominated to serve as the nation’s top prosecutor. He was named a candidate to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court following his death in 2016, though Republicans in the Senate blocked a hearing for his nomination, which eventually expired.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of the senators who blocked Garland’s 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court, praised Garland last month while introducing him ahead of his confirmation hearing.
“Judge Garland is a good pick to lead the Department of Justice,” Grassley said. “He has decades of experience as one of the most respected appellate judges in the country. And before that, he was a great prosecutor.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to serve as Biden’s secretary of housing and urban development.