Biden's attorney general nominee Garland vows to prioritize civil rights

21 Février, 2021, 17:06 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Merrick Garland pays his respects for the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington

In his opening statement, Garland says he will make civil rights, confronting "extremist attacks", and upholding the independence of the Department of Justice some of his top priorities.

In an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, Garland also said that enforcing equal justice for people of colour remains an incomplete and "urgent" task, 150 years after the Justice Department was founded following the Civil War.

Minorities still face discrimination in housing, education and the jobs market, and suffer more than others the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, Garland said in his statement.

US President Joe Biden's attorney general nominee pledged yesterday to depoliticise the Justice Department and to vigorously prosecute the Donald Trump supporters who attacked the US Capitol.

Garland, a former top Justice official who last served during the Clinton administration, said he would reaffirm policies that he described as the foundation of the agency, including standards that "protect the independence of the department from partisan influence in law enforcement investigations; that strictly regulate communications with the White House". Former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2016, but the Republican-controlled Senate at the time refused to hold hearings on the nomination. He is known for earlier work at the Justice Department, where he oversaw the prosecution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and lone wolf bomber Ted Kaczynski, widely known as the "Unabomber".

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"That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice". "If confirmed, 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".

In testimony prepared for his confirmation hearing tomorrow and Tuesday, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland indicated he wants to remove the taint of political interference left on the department by Trump. The group included 61 former federal judges, as well as over 150 former USA attorneys and senior DOJ officials, including former Attorneys General Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch and Michael Mukasey.

Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, who both served as attorneys general in the George W. Bush administration, were among more than 150 former Justice officials and USA attorneys who lauded the federal appeals court judge as "the right person" for a hard job following the tumult of the Trump administration.

Garland got a boost Friday when four former attorneys general, including two Republicans, were among bipartisan groups of Justice Department alums and former federal judges who announced for the nominee. Before he was a judge, he served within the ranks at the Justice Department as an assistant US attorney in Washington, D.C., deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division, and as principal associate deputy attorney general. He graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in 1974 and Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1977.

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