President-elect Joe Biden will nominate federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to be the next attorney general, US media reported on Wednesday, citing sources from his transition team.
Garland currently serves as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The news of his pick broke just before supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building, delaying Congress from certifying the results of the US election in November.
Biden is expected to formally announce the appointment on Thursday, along with other senior members of the Justice Department, such as Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, as associate attorney general.
Biden also intends to nominate Kristen Clarke as the assistant attorney general to the Civil Rights Division.
Garland was selected over other finalists including Alabama Senator Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
Sources told the Associated Press that Biden regarded Garland as someone who would restore the integrity of the Justice Department.
Garland, 68, has worked as both a federal prosecutor and a high-level supervisor inside the department.
As theSenate is expected to come under control of the Democrats following runoff elections in Georgia, Garland’s nomination is expected to pass easily.
The Department of Justice is expected to take a sharply different approach under the Biden administration, especially in cases of civil rights and security forces policies.
Former President Barack Obama had nominated Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016, but his appointment was blocked by the Senate, which was then controlled by Republicans. Biden still served as vice president during that time.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell had refused to let Garland’s nomination forward in the senate during the last months of Obama’s tenure. He was criticized by democrats for taking the opposite approach to move forward the nomination of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
McConell had suggested Garland’s name for the position of FBI Director after the firing of James Comey. However, Garland had expressed no interest in the position.
tg/rs (AFP, AP, Reuters)
Joe Biden to pick judge Merrick Garland as next US attorney general The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Deutsche Welle.