WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed Merrick Garland to serve as U.S. attorney general in a 70-30 vote. North Carolina’s Richard Burr and Thom Tillis joined with 18 of their fellow Republicans and all 50 Democratic members in voting to approve the nomination.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced his nomination in a 15-7 vote.
Garland served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As attorney general, he’ll lead the Justice Department as the agency continues to pursue hundreds of cases of Americans who were involved in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
During his confirmation hearing, Garland said he would not bow under to political pressure and promised to fully commit to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which went nearly dormant under the Trump administration.
“If I am confirmed, serving as attorney general will be the culmination of a career I have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced, and that the rights of all Americans are protected,” Garland said during his opening statement.
Garland also worked as a federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, where he helped prosecute the Oklahoma City bombers, a domestic terrorist attack that killed 168 people, including 19 children.
During his confirmation hearing he said he did not regret pursuing the death penalty for one of the Oklahoma City bombers at the time, but said he and President Joe Biden do currently oppose the death penalty.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, voted in support of Garland’s nomination. Five years ago, McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Garland as a Supreme Court justice after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.