Two Republican attorneys general were among bipartisan groups of U.S. Justice Department alums and former federal judges who announced their support Friday for President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland.
Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, who both served as attorneys general in the George W. Bush administration, were among more than 150 former Justice officials and U.S. attorneys who lauded the federal appeals court judge as “the right person” for a difficult job following the tumult of the Trump administration.
Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who led the Justice Department during the Obama administration, also were among the signatories to a letter submitted to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee leadership where Garland is set for a Monday confirmation hearing.
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A separate endorsement was submitted on behalf of 61 former federal judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents.
“Judge Garland approaches the law with an unwavering commitment to fairness and justice,” the judges said. “Those of us who have worked directly with Judge Garland have seen firsthand his strong moral compass and abiding integrity.”
The selection of Garland, who also served as a top Justice official in the Clinton administration, has been cast by Biden as an attempt to reset a Justice Department roiled by politics and efforts by former President Donald Trump to use the institution to advance his political interests.
“The work and reputation of the Department of Justice are as important as they have ever been,” the former Justice officials said. “Judge Garland is the right person to ensure the fair administration of justice, whether related to national security, public integrity, civil rights, antitrust, crime, or other pressing issues.
“He is also the right person to do so with integrity, humility, and a complete understanding of the substantial responsibility on his shoulders at this time,” the former Justice officials said.
Garland approaches his Monday confirmation hearing five years after a Republican-controlled Senate blocked his nomination to the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama.