Speed Reads

Better late than never

Merrick Garland finally has a Senate confirmation hearing scheduled

After five long years, Merrick Garland finally has a date for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who took over the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) after Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to an organizing resolution last week, said Tuesday night that Garland will get his confirmation hearing to be President Biden's attorney general on Feb. 22 and 23, with the nomination expected to move out of committee on March 1.

Graham had objected to a quick confirmation hearing for Garland, arguing that the Judiciary Committee typically waits 28 days after receiving paperwork to begin considering nominations. When Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) took over as the committee's top Republican, he agreed to waive the 28-day rule and "accelerate the post-committee hearing markup," he said in a statement, citing "the significance of this role."

Grassley was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2016 when then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., for a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Grassley, at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), refused to give Garland a hearing. McConnell is now minority leader.