- Judge Merrick Garland choked on explaining his motivation for being a public servant.
- At his confirmation hearing for the attorney general, Garland spoke about how his family fled anti-Semitism.
- “The country welcomed us and protected us, and I feel an obligation to the country to return the money,” he said.
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US Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland choked and got emotional Monday discussing his motivation for being a public servant.
At Garland’s confirmation hearing for attorney general before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey asked the judge to speak about why he wanted to hold the job.
“One thing you told me in private particularly motivated me to believe you when you talk about your aspirations,” Booker said. “I wonder if he can conclude by speaking, answering the question about his motivation and perhaps something from his own family history to confront hatred and discrimination in American history.”
“Yes, Senator,” Garland said, before pausing.
“I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution,” she continued while crying. “The country took us in and protected us, and I feel an obligation to the country to return the money, and this is the best and highest use of my own skill set to return it.”
Garland added, “So I want to be the kind of attorney general that you say I could become. I’ll do my best to try to be that kind of attorney general.”
Check out the exchange below:
—Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 22, 2021
President Joe Biden selected Garland to serve as attorney general on January 7, saying in a statement that Garland and other DOJ nominees reflected Biden’s “deep-rooted commitment to reaffirm the Department of Justice as a pillar of independence. and integrity, and ensuring that the Attorney General and his senior leadership team are the advocates of the American people, not the law firm of the President. “
It was a notable development for Garland, who made headlines after the Republican-controlled Senate in 2016 blocked his nomination to the US Supreme Court.
At his confirmation hearing on Monday, Garland expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Department of Justice applies the rule of law so that “the laws of our country are applied fairly and faithfully, and that the rights of all Americans are protected. “.
President Donald Trump was often criticized for using the Justice Department as a shield for himself and a sword against his enemies. He once said that he had “the absolute right to do whatever I wanted” with the department, causing a breakdown in the traditional independence of the White House institution. Trump’s actions were frequently empowered by Attorney General William Barr, who took extraordinary measures while running the department to protect all of the president’s men.
After winning the 2020 election, Biden vowed to restore independence and public trust in the US Justice Department and intelligence agencies. To that end, he said he would not encourage investigations into Trump or other political opponents, but that he would not stand in the way if the FBI or the Justice Department undertook them.
“I’m not going to tell you what to do and what not to do. I’m not going to tell you, ‘Go prosecute A, B or C,'” Biden told CNN in a recent interview, adding: ” It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the people’s Justice Department. “