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Durbin Discusses Justice Department Priorities with Merrick Garland, Biden Nominee for Attorney General

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General. During their Zoom call, Durbin and Garland expressed their desire to work closely together on Department of Justice (DOJ) priorities, including implementation of the First Step Act, combating white supremacist terrorism, addressing COVID-19 outbreaks in federal prisons, reinstating the longstanding moratorium on federal executions, reducing gun violence, and reinvigorating DOJ’s protection of Americans’ civil rights and voting rights.

“Judge Garland is well-prepared to restore the integrity of the Department of Justice after four years of unprecedented politicization by the Trump Administration.  His previous experience in the Justice Department, his understanding of the Department’s proper role, his deep respect for the Department’s career workforce, and, of course, his Illinois roots make him an excellent nominee for Attorney General.  As incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will ensure Judge Garland receives the prompt hearing and vote that Republicans denied him in 2016.  I look forward to working with him to address the many urgent priorities facing the Department and our nation.” 

A photo of Durbin’s Zoom call is available here.

Garland was born in Chicago, graduated as valedictorian of Niles West High School in Skokie, and earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.  His father was a small businessman and his mother worked as director of volunteer services at Chicago’s Council for Jewish Elderly. His grandparents immigrated to America after leaving the Pale of Settlement in Russia in the early 1900s to flee anti-Semitism. While in college, Garland spent two summers volunteering for then-Congressman Ab Mikva. Garland later was confirmed to Mikva’s seat on the D.C. Circuit.   Garland clerked for Judge Henry Friendly on the Second Circuit and Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.