The Senate on Wednesday voted 70-30 to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general, five years after the federal appeals court judge was blocked from consideration as former President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
Garland has said his top priority as head of the Justice Department will be overseeing investigations into the January 6 Capitol riot.
He also vowed to defend the independence of the agency, saying during hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that “I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) praised Garland before the vote on Wednesday.
“America can breathe a sigh of relief that we’re finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department. Someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “He understands that the job of the attorney general is one to protect rule of law, unlike the previous attorneys general under President Trump.”