WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee brought forward the appointment of Merrick Garland as President Joe Biden’s attorney general on Monday.
Garland’s nomination was signaled by the Democratic-led committee along bipartisan lines in a 15-7 vote.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the leading committee member, along with Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, joined all Democrats on the panel for support the nomination.
The seven Republicans who voted against Garland were the senses. Ben Sasse from Nebraska, Mike Lee from Utah, Josh Hawley from Missouri, Tom Cotton from Arkansas, John Kennedy from Louisiana, Ted Cruz from Texas and Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee.
The committee’s action comes a week after Garland testified before the panel about how he would run the Justice Department if confirmed by the Senate, assuring senators that he would protect the independence of the department and not not allow politics to interfere with work.
In his pre-vote comments, committee chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Said of the candidate that “America will be better off with that kind of person running the Justice Department.”
Grassley, announcing his intention to support Garland, said a moment later: “I plan to vote for him, I hope my confidence is not misplaced.”
Other Republicans were tougher. Cruz, for his part, claimed that Garland “refused to answer virtually anything” during his confirmation hearings – a claim Durbin disputed.
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