The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as attorney general on Wednesday with a 70-30 vote. He received support from 20 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said he backed Garland "because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert," adding that "his left-of-center perspective has been within the legal mainstream."
McConnell's praise may come across as a little surprising, considering, as then-majority leader, he was at the forefront of the Republican strategy to block Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 during former President Barack Obama's last year in the White House. However, even at the time McConnell claimed his stance on the matter was not related to Garland specifically, but rather his belief that a president should not name someone to the high court in an election year. McConnell's critics never really bought into that argument, however, suspecting that he was using his political power to maintain a conservative-majority bench, which he appears to have secured after three new justices were confirmed during the Trump presidency.