Speed Reads

Drama in D.C.

Biden reportedly picks Merrick Garland for attorney general

President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly made his pick for attorney general.

Biden will nominate Judge Merrick Garland to serve as attorney general in his administration, Politico reported on Wednesday. Garland had been reported to be in the running for the role, and Biden reportedly chose him over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Al.) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who were also in the mix.

Garland serves on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and he was previously nominated by former President Barack Obama to serve on the Supreme Court in 2016. But Senate Republicans, who argued a new Supreme Court justice shouldn't be seated in an election year, did not hold confirmation hearings for him. Four years later, Senate Republicans confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020, which was also an election year.

While Politico reports that Jones was considered the candidate who would be most easily confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate, and picking Garland was "considered a risk in that it would be difficult to confirm a replacement for him on the appellate court," the "confirmation issues with other candidates largely dissipated" after Democrats looked likely to regain control of the Senate in the Georgia runoffs.

Indeed, The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted that "with control of the Senate, this allows Biden to fill Garland's seat, generally seen as the most important judgeship below SCOTUS."