President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Merrick Garland to serve as attorney general, multiple people familiar with the decision tell CBS News.
Garland is the former chief judge on United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, considered to be the second-highest federal court in the country. Garland, 68, was nominated by former President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but he was blocked from consideration by Republican senators.
Garland, who is still a judge on the appeals court, is also a veteran of the Justice Department, most notably overseeing the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber and Ted Kaczynski, better known as the “Unabomber.”
One person familiar with the choice said that the results of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia changed the dynamics of Mr. Biden’s choice.
“Last night changed a lot,” this person said.
Garland was chosen over other notable candidates, including former Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, who is also a former federal prosecutor and was considered to be a front-runner, especially as Republicans maintained control of the Senate. Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general, was also under consideration.
The Biden team will cast Garland as a nonpartisan, restorative figure to lead a department imperiled by four years of political interference by President Trump and his associates.