Here are the biggest takeaways from the first day of Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearings

merrick garland

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US appeals court judge Merrick Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday at a confirmation hearing for his nomination as US attorney general. Garland enjoys broad, bipartisan support despite the fact that Republicans blocked his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016, and he is widely expected to be confirmed after a floor vote next week.

During his testimony, the jurist emphasized his commitment to staying apolitical, discussed what led him to become a public servant, and spoke at length about systemic racism and the threat of white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the first day of hearings:

Garland expressed his support for the Durham investigation

Several Republican senators asked Garland about his view on the DOJ’s internal investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, led by US attorney John Durham. Garland said he didn’t know anything about the probe beyond what’s been reported in the media and added that he could not comment on the inquiry without knowing all the facts of the case.

However, he said, “I understand that Mr. Durham has been permitted to remain in his position, and I know of nothing that would give me any doubt that that was the correct decision.”

Garland said investigating the Capitol insurrection will be his biggest priority as attorney general

“I can assure you that this would be my first priority and my first briefing when I return to the department if I am confirmed,” the judge said. He also said the US is facing a “more dangerous period” from a domestic terrorism standpoint than it did after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

“From 1995 to 1997, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government,” he said in his opening statement.

“If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government,” Garland added.

Garland criticized the “arbitrariness and randomness” of the death penalty and its effect on the Black community

“I am very concerned about the large number of exonerations that have occurred through DNA evidence and otherwise, not only in death penalty convictions but also in other convictions,” he said.

“I think it’s a terrible thing that occurs when somebody is convicted of a crime that they did not commit,” he continued, adding that executing an innocent person is “the worst thing.”

Garland also emphasized the “enormously disparate impact” the death penalty has on the Black community.

“The data is clear that it has been enormously disparate impact on Black Americans and members of communities of color, and exonerations also that something like half of the exonerations had to do with Black men. So all of this has given me pause,” he said.

Why Garland wants to serve as attorney general

The judge choked …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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