When Donald Trump leaves the White House at the end of his current term after his recent decisive presidential election defeat, he’s not the only one who will be leaving the halls of government. Figureheads of the Trump administration’s self-serving corruption, like Attorney General Bill Barr, are also on the way out. According to NPR, candidates under consideration to potentially replace Barr include none other than Merrick Garland. Garland, of course, is a judge on the D.C. appeals court, who then-President Barack Obama nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. Senate Republicans, who led their chamber, refused to even hold a hearing for Garland’s nomination.
Attorney Generals must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, so if Biden does decide to go with Garland, then the judge would come up before the chamber yet again. At present, it’s unclear which major political party will control the U.S. Senate when Biden takes office. Georgia has two U.S. Senate elections slated for early January, and if Democrats win both seats — which seems possible, since Biden just won the state in the presidential election — then Democrats would control the Senate. The chamber would be split 50-50, but vice presidents are tasked with breaking ties, and under a Biden administration, that tie-breaker would be Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Other candidates under consideration to become Attorney General with Biden in the White House include former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former Justice Department civil rights chief Deval Patrick, and former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who recently lost his race for re-election to the U.S. Senate in Alabama after representing the state in the upper Congressional chamber for two years.
As for Garland, NPR notes that “supporters” say that he could help restore confidence in the Justice Department following the chaos of the Trump administration.
‘Former DoJ officials pointed out that after Watergate, President Gerald Ford enlisted former University of Chicago President Edward Levi to serve as attorney general and restore public confidence in the institution… Supporters said Garland could play a similar role, if he could be enticed to leave his lifetime-tenured appointment on the federal bench.’
Biden has already publicly announced one prominent pick — Ronald Klain, who will be the White House chief of staff. Klain has worked alongside Biden for many years, including as chief of staff to Biden while he served in the Obama administration as vice president.