US President-elect, Joe Biden, will nominate federal appeals judge, Merrick Garland, to be the next US attorney general, a Biden transition official said on Wednesday, a choice most Americans know as the Supreme Court nominee of President Barack Obama memorably blocked by Republicans.
Garland, 68, serves as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of 13 federal appeals courts.
Obama, a Democrat, nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2016 while Biden was vice president, but the Republican-controlled US Senate refused to hold hearings on the nomination.
Biden, who takes office in two weeks, also intends to nominate Justice Department veterans Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and Kristen Clarke as the assistant attorney general to the Civil Rights Division, the official said.
Vanita Gupta, the head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will be nominated by Biden as the Associate Attorney General.
During his election campaign, Biden pledged to take steps to end racial disparities in sentencing by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, ending the use of the federal death penalty and restoring the Justice Department’s role of investigating and holding police departments accountable for systemic misconduct.
While many of these initiatives would require approval from Congress, Garland as attorney general would have significant power to address these topics through policy changes, including instructing prosecutors not to seek the death penalty and making charging decisions that do not trigger mandatory minimums.