February 22, 2021

Van Hollen Introduces Merrick Garland at Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as the Committee considers Garland’s nomination by President Joe Biden to serve as the Attorney General. During his introduction, Senator Van Hollen underscored Judge Garland’s immense qualifications to be the next Attorney General and highlighted his strength of character that will allow him to serve our nation with distinction at this challenging time. The Senator touched on his personal relationship with Judge Garland, a Marylander, and discussed the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience he would bring to this role. A full transcript of the Senator’s remarks are available below.

U.S. SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-Md.): I am really grateful for the opportunity to introduce the President’s nominee for Attorney General, Judge Merrick Garland, who’s not only a fellow Marylander but somebody I have known personally for many years. I know that President Biden has picked a nominee with impeccable credentials and unimpeachable character. His experience stretches from the halls of the Justice Department to the chambers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – and he embodies the decency, the impartiality, and the commitment to justice that our nation deserves as the Attorney General of the United States. I am confident that, if confirmed, Judge Garland will serve admirably and faithfully as the next Attorney General, and I am proud to present him to you and the Committee on behalf of myself but also Senator Cardin, who, as you mentioned Mr. Chairman, is fully in support of this nomination but could not join us because of a scheduling conflict.

The nation already knows Merrick Garland because of his Supreme Court nomination and as the former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he earned a reputation as one of our nation’s finest and fairest jurists. But his tenure on the D.C. Circuit was just the most recent achievement in a life dedicated to serving the rule of law. After excelling at law school, Judge Garland clerked for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and then for the Supreme Court. He then rose through the ranks of a prominent law firm before jumping back into public service feet-first as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office during the Administration of President George Hebert Walker Bush, and then later served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

As a senior DOJ official, Judge Garland was tasked with overseeing the case of the Oklahoma City bombing, one of the deadliest domestic terrorist attacks in American history. It left 168 Americans dead and hundreds more injured. Merrick Garland brought a steady hand to an operation that involved massive amounts of evidence, pressure from the public, and a large team with diverse skills and backgrounds. With fidelity to the law and meticulous attention to detail, and unrelenting focus, Merrick Garland helped bring the bomber, Timothy McVeigh, to justice. He has called this case the most important thing he has done in his life.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and Committee members, we are going to need his experience as we once again confront the rise of domestic terrorism, particularly in the wake of the horrific events of January 6th. And the next Attorney General must not only take on the rise of white supremacists and radical militia groups but also ensure that justice is rendered equally and fairly by promoting and ensuring racial equity, rooting out discrimination in our criminal justice system, addressing police reform, and ensuring that we don’t see a concerted effort to limit people’s citizens’ right to vote in the United States of America. As Justice Garland has himself stated, ensuring the rule of law and making real the promise of equal justice under the law are “the great principles upon which the Department of Justice was founded and for which it must always stand.” Judge Garland has spent his career doing both, and I have no doubt he will honor that tradition as Attorney General.

While his professional experiences have prepared him for this job – it’s his character that makes him right for this moment. Should he be confirmed, Judge Garland will be charged with restoring credibility and independence to the Department of Justice, making it clear that the Department is not the political instrument of the White House. I know Merrick Garland is up to the task. The lengthy list of testimonials speaking to his fairness and sound judgment span the political spectrum. He is respected by lawmakers, scholars, and lawyers of every legal persuasion and political philosophy. And on a personal note, I can attest to the fact that his brilliance is matched by his kindness. His many achievements have never gone to his head. He has always stayed humble and treated everyone with respect.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, it is for these reasons and many more that I am honored to present to you the President’s nominee to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States, Judge Merrick Garland. Thank you.