President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Merrick Garland, a longtime judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, his attorney general.
Who is Merrick Garland?
Garland, 63, a Chicago native, has served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1997, worked in private practice, as a federal prosecutor, a senior official in the Justice Department’s criminal division and as a principle associate deputy attorney general.
Garland graduated from Harvard College in 1974 and from Harvard Law School in 1977. He was special assistant to the attorney general of the U.S. from 1979 to 1981.
He served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1989 to 1992 and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1993 to 1994.
From 1994 until his appointment as U.S. circuit judge, Garland served as principal associate deputy attorney general. During his time as principal associate deputy attorney general, Garland supervised prosecution of Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.
In September 1995, former president Bill Clinton nominated Garland to the D.C. Circuit seat after it was vacated by Abner J. Mikva.
In 1997, Republican U.S. senator and Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch supported Garland’s appointment to the federal appeals court, saying “his intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned.”
Garland was a leading contender for a nomination to the Supreme Court during the Obama administration, with early seats ultimately going to Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In 2016, Garland was nominated following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. However, Republicans refused to hold a hearing on the nomination. The seat was later filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch during the Trump administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.