Biden Is Said to Pick Merrick Garland as Attorney General
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to nominate Judge Merrick B. Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked in 2016, to be attorney general, placing the task of repairing a beleaguered Justice Department in the hands of a centrist judge, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Strong Republican support for Judge Garland helped secure his place in the incoming Biden administration, which greatly values bipartisan support for cabinet choices even as Democrats secured the necessary seats in the Senate to confirm all of Mr. Biden’s nominees.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said last month that he would support Judge Garland’s nomination for attorney general. Three other Republican senators — Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine — have said in the past that they would support him to run the F.B.I., citing his integrity and independence.
If confirmed, Judge Garland would inherit a department that grew more politicized under President Trump than at any point since Watergate. He would decide whether to pursue investigations into Mr. Trump, his associates and his former and current cabinet members, a topic that has divided Democrats and even employees inside the department. Mr. Biden himself has said that he is not eager to prosecute the past. But it is unclear whether the extraordinary events that unfolded in Washington on Wednesday — as Mr. Trump said he would never concede the election and his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol — would affect that the issue.