The US Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm attorney general nominee Merrick Garland in a 70-30 vote, CNN reports.
The former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has been praised by members of both parties. He pledged in his nomination hearing last month to "fend off any effort by anyone" to politically influence the Justice Department's investigations, and that his first priority would be to fully prosecute the "heinous" crimes committed in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.
Garland will soon face politically charged questions at the Justice Department, including whether the Justice Department should wade into former President Donald Trump's role in the Capitol riot, and how to handle a federal probe into Biden's son, Hunter Biden.
In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked his nomination, claiming that the public should vote for the next president to decide the lifelong appointment.
McConnell said on Wednesday he voted to confirm Garland's nomination as attorney general "because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert," calling his "left-of-center perspective" within "the legal mainstream."
Before becoming a judge, Garland served under President Bill Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and led the Justice Department investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Garland said at his confirmation hearing that the current threat from White supremacists is a "more dangerous period than we faced at that time."