Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland Gets Senate Confirmation Hearing

Headline Roundup February 22nd, 2021

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's nominee for attorney general, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, where he vowed to guard the Justice Department from political influence and prioritize an investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Garland, a federal appeals court judge, managed the investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and supervised the prosecution of the "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski. If appointed, Garland would inherit several cases from the previous administration, including a probe into Hunter Biden's taxes and John Durham's investigation of the origins of the probe into former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. During questioning, Garland said he would allow Durham's investigation to continue, and promised to remain impartial in the investigation into Hunter Biden. Addressing a question from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, Garland also said that Antifa’s attacks on a Portland courthouse last year may not have been “domestic terrorism,” because they took place at night when the court was not “in operation,” unlike the Capitol breach.

Left- and center-rated outlets tended to focus on Garland's vow of impartiality, as well as his pledge to focus on the Capitol breach. Some right-rated outlets highlighted Garland's distinction between the Capitol breach and Portland riots.

Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland Gets Senate Confirmation Hearing

From the Right
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President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, said during the first day of his confirmation hearing on Monday that the attacks on federal courthouses in the Pacific Northwest may not qualify as domestic terrorism because the attacks happen at night when the court is closed.

“Let me ask you about assaults on federal property in places other than Washington, D.C. Portland for instance, Seattle,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said. “Do you regard assaults on federal courthouses or other federal property as acts of domestic extremism, domestic terrorism?

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From the Left
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ANALYSIS

For Merrick Garland, a well-regarded lawyer and federal judge — and onetime Supreme Court nominee — there was a critical condition under which he’d accept the nomination of attorney general under President Biden.

“Merrick’s acceptance comment was, ‘President-elect Biden has guaranteed me independence,’” Earl Steinberg, a childhood friend of Garland, recalled from Biden and Garland’s Jan. 7 nomination announcement. “Then he choked up a little bit and said, ‘or I would not have accepted the nomination.’ That is classic Merrick.”

It seemed to strike Steinberg as an encapsulation of the...

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From the Center
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President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, vowed on Monday to protect the integrity of the Justice Department from partisan influence, in an effort to restore confidence after President Donald Trump repeatedly sought to bend the department to his will. Trump, a Republican who lost to Biden in November, for years attacked Justice Department investigations of his 2016 campaign and Russian election interference as a “witch hunt” or a “hoax.”

Garland, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, also vowed to make the investigation of the Jan....

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