WASHINGTON (AP) — Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, is vowing to prioritize civil rights and combating extremist violence.
During his confirmation hearing Monday, the 68-year-old said his first focus would be on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as he sought to assure lawmakers that the Justice Department would remain politically independent on his watch.
Garland appeared Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and is widely expected to sail through his confirmation process with bipartisan support.
In his prepared remarks, Garland focused on prioritizing policing and civil rights to combat racial discrimination and says America doesn’t “yet have equal justice.”
He says the “attorney general represents the public interest, particularly and specifically as defined by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States.”
He pledged that he does “not plan to be interfered with by anyone.”
Many became familiar with Garland in 2016 when the federal appeals court judge was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court and denied a hearing.
If confirmed as attorney general, Garland says it “will be the culmination of a career I have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced, and that the rights of all Americans are protected.”