What a distinction 5 years seems to make.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated Tuesday he’ll again President Joe Biden’s choose for attorney general, Merrick Garland.
“I do,” McConnell told Politico when requested Tuesday afternoon if he plans to support Garland, a longtime federal choose and ex-federal prosecutor, in turning into the nation’s high regulation enforcement official.
McConnell didn’t share additional clarification for his support.
A spokesman for McConnell confirmed to The Courier Journal that the Kentucky Republican “supports Garland’s nomination.”
“If he comments further, I will make sure you get it,” McConnell spokesman Robert Steuer wrote in an e-mail.
McConnell was the Senate’s majority chief in 2016, when he declined to have his chamber consider Garland’s nomination by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the time, McConnell stated American voters ought to in the end have a say in the Supreme Court seat made vacant by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s dying, with the GOP chief explaining it was a presidential election 12 months and the White House and Senate have been managed by completely different events.
Soon after Obama, a Democrat, formally nominated Garland in 2016, McConnell stated the previous president and his allies “may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person.”
But the choice to block Garland’s nomination, McConnell stated in 2016, “remains about a principle, not a person.”
McConnell’s transfer paid off later that 12 months for Republicans, when Donald Trump received the White House and the GOP-controlled Senate subsequently accredited Justice Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s seat in 2017.
Since then, McConnell has described his resolution to block Garland because the “most consequential factor I’ve ever performed.”
McConnell adopted that up by serving to Brett Kavanaugh succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court in 2018, a transfer that McConnell described as “the single most important thing I’ve been involved in in my career.”
And before his six-year reign as the Senate’s majority leader ended in January, McConnell oversaw the confirmation last October of Amy Coney Barrett, the third Trump nominee to the nation’s high court.
Barrett’s confirmation, which came during a presidential election year but while the GOP still controlled the White House and Senate, was a “capstone” to the work to remodel the federal judiciary throughout Trump’s presidency, McConnell said last fall.
McConnell has not ignored Garland since his Supreme Court snub.
In 2017, McConnell really helpful the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals choose to lead the FBI, noting Garland “has a deep background in criminal law” and was the prosecutor within the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing case.
Garland was reportedly not interested in the FBI job, however.
But he now appears to have bipartisan support for the attorney general position.
All 5 witnesses at Garland’s affirmation listening to Tuesday gave him glowing recommendations, and the Department of Justice stated quite a few regulation enforcement teams support his nomination, together with the Fraternal Order of Police.
Earlier within the week, Garland additionally told the Senate Judiciary Committee he wouldn’t be “the president’s lawyer” and touched on questions related to domestic terrorism, immigration, systemic racism, drug policy and more.
The full Senate is expected to vote next week on Garland’s nomination.
Reach Billy Kobin at [email protected]