Senate Panel To Vote To Advance Garland’s Nomination as Attorney General

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday is due to vote to advance Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, paving the way for the U.S. Senate to vote to confirm him to the post.

Garland has garnered support among both Democrats and Republicans, who cite his prior experience as a prosecutor and a judge.

The timing of a full Senate vote on Garland’s nomination was not immediately clear.

Garland would take the reins at the Justice Department at a time when it has been busy handling a sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6 riots, when supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.

He has also pledged to reinvigorate the Civil Rights Division, which critics say was decimated under Trump’s tenure, failing to police voting rights cases or open investigations into systemic abuses by police departments.

Last week, the Civil Rights Division revealed it is looking into whether to launch hate crime probes into the rising number of incidents targeting Asian-Americans after Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”

Unlike former Attorney General William Barr, who told Congress last year he did not believe systemic racism plagued the U.S. criminal justice system, Garland testified that he believes the system does not treat all Americans equally.

Garland, a federal appellate judge and former prosecutor, is widely expected to be confirmed as the nation’s top U.S. law enforcement official.

On March 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee intends to hold a confirmation hearing for Lisa Monaco and Vanita Gupta, Biden’s choices to serve in the No. 2 and No. 3 top Justice Department jobs.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Sonya Hepinstall)