Confirmation hearing to begin today.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee pledged on Saturday to depoliticise the Justice Department and to vigorously prosecute former President Donald Trump’s supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol.
In testimony prepared for his confirmation hearing on Monday and Tuesday, Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland indicated he wants to remove the taint of political interference left on the department by Mr. Trump.
He also promised to create clear guidelines for FBI investigations, amid allegations that the agency strayed deeply into politics in investigating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 and then Trump in 2017-2018.
In an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, Judge Garland also said that enforcing equal justice for people of colour remains an incomplete and “urgent” task, 150 years after the Justice Department was founded following the Civil War.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1957 created the Department’s Civil Rights Division, with the mission ‘to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society,’” the Judge said. “That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice.”
Judge Garland also said the country faces a serious threat of extremism, as exemplified by the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which shut down the legislature as lawmakers met to certify Mr. Biden’s poll win.