fairn.png
Monday March 1st, 2021 11:10PM

Garland to focus on civil rights, political independence

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general, will appear for his confirmation hearing vowing to prioritize civil rights, combat extremist attacks and ensure the Justice Department remains politically independent.

Garland, a federal appeals court judge who was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2016, will appear Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and is widely expected to sail through his confirmation process with bipartisan support.

Garland’s nomination has gained public support on both sides of the political aisle, from more than 150 former Justice Department officials — including former attorneys general Loretta Lynch, Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, along with 61 former federal judges. Others, including two sons of former Attorney General Edward Levi, have also written letters of support to Congress.

“There have been few moments in history where the role of attorney general — and the occupant of that post — have mattered more,” the committee’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says in remarks prepared for the hearing.

In his own prepared remarks, Garland focuses on prioritizing policing and civil rights to combat racial discrimination — he says America doesn’t “yet have equal justice” — as well as confronting the rise in extremist violence and domestic terror threats and restoring the department’s political independence after years of controversial decisions and turmoil.

“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,” Garland says.

Garland is also planning to highlight the department’s work prosecuting hundreds of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Biden’s electoral win on Jan. 6.

“I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government,” he says.

Biden’s choice of Garland reflects the president’s goal of restoring the department’s reputation as an independent body. During his four years as president, Donald Trump insisted that the attorney general must be loyal to him personally, a position that battered the department’s reputation. Garland’s high-court nomination by President Barack Obama in 2016 died because the Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold a hearing.

“I believe that he is the right person for this moment in time,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. “The fact that he’s a judge, the fact that he has worked at the Justice Department, that he worked on domestic terrorism cases and headed them up. That he understands how important it is to bring the law back into the Justice Department.”

Garland will inherit a Justice Department that endured a tumultuous time under Trump — rife with political drama and controversial decisions — and abundant criticism from Democrats over what they saw as the politicizing of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.

The department’s priorities and messaging are expected to shift drastically in the Biden administration, with a focus more on civil rights issue, criminal justice overhauls and policing policies in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

But Garland will also likely face questioning about his plans to handle specific investigations and politically sensitive cases, like the federal tax investigation involving Biden’s son Hunter Biden, along with a Justice Department investigation examining whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration intentionally manipulated data about nursing home coronavirus deaths.

A special counsel’s inquiry started by William Barr, while he was attorney general, into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation also remains open. It will be up to Garland to decide what to make public from that report.

Garland is a white man, but two other members of the Justice Department leadership, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, are women with significant experience in civil rights. Their selections appeared designed to blunt any concerns about Biden’s choice for attorney general and served as a signal that progressive causes would be prioritized in the new administration.

Garland is an experienced judge who held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, including as a supervisor in the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. But he is set to return to a department that is radically different from the one he left. His experience prosecuting domestic terrorism cases could prove exceptionally handy.

___

Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Garland to focus on civil rights, political independence
President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general is set for his confirmation hearing vowing to prioritize civil rights, combat extremist attacks and ensure the Justice Department remains politically independent
5:35AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Biden to boost pandemic lending to smallest businesses
President Joe Biden is targeting federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and taking steps to further equity in what is known as the Paycheck Protection Program
5:11AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Survey: German business optimism up despite pandemic burdens
German businesses are a bit more optimistic despite the pandemic
5:08AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Vaccination starts without rush in Australia, parts of Asia
Australia has started its COVID-19 inoculation program days after its neighbor New Zealand, with both governments deciding their pandemic experiences did not require the fast tracking of vaccine rollouts that occurred in many parts of the world
3:31AM ( 2 hours ago )
US coronavirus death toll approaches milestone of 500,000
The U.S. stands at the brink of 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus
1:31AM ( 4 hours ago )
Gun provocation reveals tensions in Michigan tourist haven
A northern Michigan community known for sandy beaches and cherry orchards is grappling with some of the issues that have ignited protests in bigger cities around the nation
1:26AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
New Zealand remembers 185 who died in quake 10 years ago
New Zealand lowered its flags and made special note of those who couldn’t travel as it marked the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake that killed 185 people
11:53PM ( 5 hours ago )
FAA orders United to inspect Boeing 777s after emergency
Federal aviation regulators are ordering United Airlines to step up inspections of all Boeing 777s equipped with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver Saturday
11:32PM ( 6 hours ago )
Hospitals confront water shortages in winter storm aftermath
Hospitals across the South are grappling with water shortages as the region carries on with recovery efforts in the wake of a devastating winter storm
6:10PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Big factor in COVID votes: Would Dems sink first Biden goal?
Democrats have a potent dynamic on their side as Congress preps for its first votes on the party’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill
12:49AM ( 4 hours ago )
Biden to mark nation crossing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths
President Joe Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House
9:09PM ( 8 hours ago )
Arkansas' GOP governor says he won't back a Trump 2024 bid
Arkansas' Republican governor is making clear he won't back Donald Trump if the former president runs for the White House in 2024
2:29PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
New legislation would protect drivers who hit protestors
When massive demonstrations against racial injustice erupted across the nation last summer, protesters often swarmed onto roads or highways to draw attention to their cause
11:26AM ( 1 day ago )
Thailand's prime minister survives no-confidence vote
Thailand’s prime minister has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament amid allegations that his government mismanaged the economy, bungled the provision of COVID-19 vaccines, abused human rights and fostered corruption
10:17AM ( 1 day ago )
Maryland police reform would repeal officer job protections
For more than seven years, Tawanda Jones has held weekly vigils to protest the death of her brother, who died after a struggle with Baltimore police in 2013
9:36AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
South Carolina abortion law suspended 1 day after passage
South Carolina's new law banning most abortions has been suspended by a federal judge on its second day in effect
3:14PM ( 2 days ago )
Trump-McConnell feud threatens Republicans' path to power
Former President Donald Trump is stepping up a political war within the Republican Party that could undermine the GOP’s ability to fight President Joe Biden’s agenda and ultimately return the party to power
4:08PM ( 3 days ago )
No execution: Courts side with inmate wanting pastor present
An Alabama inmate has won a reprieve from a scheduled lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court said the state could not proceed without his pastor in the death chamber
4:46PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Biden to boost pandemic lending to smallest businesses
President Joe Biden is targeting federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and taking steps to further equity in what is known as the Paycheck Protection Program
5:11AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Protests swell after Myanmar junta raises specter of force
Protesters have gathered in Myanmar's biggest city despite the ruling junta's threat to use lethal force if people join a general strike opposing the military's takeover
5:00AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Vaccinations start without rush in Australia, parts of Asia
Australia has started its COVID-19 inoculation program days after its neighbor New Zealand, with both governments deciding their pandemic experiences did not require the fast tracking of vaccine rollouts that occurred in many parts of the world
4:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
Russia's COVID-19 vaccination drive slowly picking up speed
Russia’s rollout of its coronavirus vaccine is beginning to pick up speed in some of its more remote regions, but experts say the campaign is still moving slowly
4:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Young children return to school in Germany
Elementary schools and kindergartens in more than half of Germany’s 16 states have reopened after two months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic
4:25AM ( 1 hour ago )