Reparations for Merrick Garland: he gets to be attorney general

January 6, 2021 • 12:00 pm

Merrick Garland, Obama’s unlucky nominee for the Supreme Court whose seat was pulled away by Mitch “666” McConnell, will now be Biden’s nominee for attorney general.  And now that it looks even more sure that the Democrats will control the Senate, fears about the lacuna he’d leave on the appeals court are waning.

As CNN reports:

While Garland has been a top contender for weeks, concerns about the vacancy his selection would create on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia raised alarm bells among Biden and many advisers who believed Senate Republicans would block any nomination to that seat. But with Democrats poised to control the Senate after two Georgia runoff races, those concerns were allayed. “Judge Garland will be viewed in a whole new light now,” a top Biden ally tells CNN.
I tell you: what with the vaccines and the new Democratic administration, and perhaps a Democratic Senate, 2021 is looking up. It would be lovely if Garland got to lead the prosecution of Donald Trump, but any prosecutions will be on the state rather than the federal level, especially if Trump succeeds in pardoning himself.
Merrick Garland

20 thoughts on “Reparations for Merrick Garland: he gets to be attorney general

  1. “Merrick Garland […] will now be Biden’s nominee for attorney general”

    Alert :

    Identity politics burst in the media in 3… 2… 1….

  2. Garland is a fine choice. However, Joy Reid, of MSNBC, posted an understandable response on Twitter:

    “So President-elect Biden held his A.G. pick in suspense until after the Georgia Senate result seemed clear for a Democratic takeover in order to choose not Trump-kicking Georgian Sally Yates or civil rights hero Doug Jones, who prosecuted Klansmen but rather… Merrick Garland?”

    She makes a fair point. I’m not as a familiar with Jones’s record, but Sally Yates would have been an excellent (and maybe better) choice for A.G.

    1. If Biden’s going to try and undo all the insults and damages done by Trmp&Co for the last four years, nothing will get done. As it is, expect the (illegal! illegitimate! fake!) Biden to be hounded by protests starting Day One, as they always say.

    2. Biden has his choice of a number of extremely qualified people who only differ from one another in one or two specific strengths though all are overall very strong. This embarrassment of riches reminds me of the choices that faced us on nsf grant proposal review committees over the years. Of 45-50 proposals, it always seemed like at least a dozen were extremely strong and the top six were virtually indistinguishable in quality. The final single choice just relied on some subtle fine preferences among committee members and a bit of luck on the part of the successful proposer. So let’s not have dems and msnbc media types bad-mouthing these extremely strong people. Just recognize that only one can be chosen at the end of the day.

      1. And as for the numerous impressive people we saw giving congressional testimony or whistle-blowing and having their careers abruptly ended, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to resume those careers or play a role on commissions, committees, or in similar responsibilities to serve the nation over the next four years. My guess is that their own commitment to service will continue…at least i hope so.

    3. Today we can argue which nominee will be a bigger poke in the eye to the Republicans, Merrick Garland or Sally Yates. For this I am thankful and hopeful. BTW, it’s Garland.

      1. Hear, hear! Garland commands universal respect across the political spectrum (apart from the inhabitants of the Trump Tower, Jonestown).
        A great choice, and absolutely perfect symbolism. A garland for the victor!

  3. If tRump pardons himself the Justice Department could/should pursue the action in court giving the Supremes the opportunity do determine if it is legal at all. Not doing so will allow self-pardons to be established as precedent and we will have forever lost the notion that “no one is above the law”.

    1. I thought that you cannot pass a sentence on yourself. So on that basis, hopefully Trump won’t be able to pardon himself. But of course the other matter will be how New York handles charges against him. State matters are different.
      Looking forward to it!

  4. Most constitutional scholars believe a self pardon is violating the rule of law. Trump will have to resign get a pardon from Pence. I hope Pence agrees to do it and then doesn’t as payback for the shit Trump has given Pence this week.

      1. I don’t know. (Not that Pence has a backbone.) He’s about to be jettisoned by tRump for the crime of not doing what is impossible, rejecting the election results in Congress. Pence will become part of the deep state, pathetic, weak, and every other negative adjective tRrump knows will be thrown at him.

      2. Now that Pence has denied Trump on the election, he will be at least partially in Trump’s doghouse. Pence probably realizes that he’ll no longer be Trump’s pal so I don’t think he’ll do anything much for him ever again.

  5. It would be lovely if Garland got to lead the prosecution of Donald Trump, but any prosecutions will be on the state rather than the federal level, especially if Trump succeeds in pardoning himself.

    Any decision regarding a post-presidency federal prosecution of Donald Trump should be left to the career professionals at Main Justice rather than to a political appointee (especially to a political appointee whom Trump urged be denied a seat on SCOTUS), or handed off to a special prosecutor, to be pursued according to the strict letter of the prosecutorial standards set out in the Justice Department’s Manual.

    If Trump tries to pardon himself, and if there is in fact a prosecutable federal case that could be pursued against him, I think the Justice Department would be forfeit to its obligations if it failed to bring an indictment against him to test the validity of a presidential self-pardon in the courts, thereby allowing Trump’s actions to establish an uncontested precedent.

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