February 23, 2021

Whitehouse Statement on Garland Hearing

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, signaled his support for the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to serve as Attorney General after Garland’s nomination hearing concluded today:

“Judge Garland proved he’s the right person to restore a battered Department of Justice after four troubled years under Donald Trump. We still don’t know the extent of the damage Trump inflicted, but even our incomplete picture reveals sweeping harm. The former president treated the Department like a stable of personal attorneys and his Attorneys General as his political errand boys. They trampled long-held Department practices and norms whenever they stood in their way, and served to bend the law to Trump’s ends.

“Merrick Garland’s record and temperament stand in sharp contrast. Judge Garland prosecuted violent extremists, rose through DOJ ranks to serve as a senior Department official, and presided with distinction as the chief judge of one of our most influential appellate courts. He is known for honesty, decency, and steadfast commitment to Rule of Law, qualities that match this moment perfectly.

“Judge Garland pledged to restore independence of the Department. The scandals of the Bush and Trump years show why limits on contact between the White House and the Department are so important. Politics must never play a part in law enforcement decisions – ever. It is refreshing to hear this principle expressed clearly by our Attorney General nominee.

“I was also pleased Judge Garland committed to clearing the substantial backlog of congressional requests ignored by the Department under Trump. Responding to those requests is an important step in a thorough accounting of Trump’s abuses.

“Judge Garland made clear his intention to earn back the public’s trust and belief in the Department of Justice, and gave his commitment to salvaging, restoring, and upholding the Department’s ideals. I look forward to voting in favor of his nomination and to working with him to meet the challenges ahead.”

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921