Garland Tiptoes Around GOP Land Mines

February 22, 2021

Judge Merrick Garland bobbed and weaved around several GOP gripes about the Justice Department under previous Democratic administrations during what has so far been a crisp confirmation hearing for the attorney general nominee.

After the top Republican on the committee signaled that there would be bipartisan support for his confirmation, Garland — who was boxed out by Republicans for a Supreme Court seat during the Obama presidency — is on a glide path to becoming attorney general.

So far, Republicans have brought up many of their pet issues about the Justice Department, with questions about the Durham review of the Russia investigation, use of the death penalty, gun rights and immigration enforcement. But they haven’t dwelled on Garland’s dodges or pushed him too hard when he danced around some of their questions.

Garland, currently a judge on the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has earned bipartisan respect for both his middle-of-the-road judicial approach and his record earlier in his career as a Justice Department prosecutor.

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