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Press Release

Brennan Center Comment on President-Elect Joe Biden’s Intent to Nominate Merrick Garland as Attorney General

“He is universally and rightly respected for his commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Brennan Center president Michael Waldman.

January 7, 2021
Contact: Rebecca Autrey, Media Contact,, 202-753-5904

President-elect Joe Biden today announced he will nominate Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:

"Judge Merrick Garland is an outstanding choice for attorney general. In the wake of Watergate, Edward Levi restored independence and professionalism to the Justice Department after a time of scandal and abuse of executive power. Judge Garland has the chance to have a similar transformative impact. He is universally and rightly respected for his commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law. We are proud to note that in the course of his career, he served as a clerk for Justice William Brennan, Jr.

"As Attorney General Garland will be joined by a strong and principled team, as announced today, including Lisa Monaco as Deputy Attorney General, Vanita Gupta as Associate Attorney General, and Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

"The Justice Department has urgent work ahead. Amid the long-overdue focus on racial justice, the department has a chance to enact significant reforms, and can play a critical role in the bipartisan effort to enact new legislation to curb police abuse and end mass incarceration. In the wake of the assault on our democracy, the department can once again stand strong for voting rights and civil rights. It can stand up against religious discrimination and inappropriate profiling.  It can enforce the laws against corruption and political abuse, without fear or favor, and continue to use the antitrust laws at this moment of economic change.  And the department can restore its independence from inappropriate political interference, from the White House or anywhere else.

“In all this, in short, Merrick Garland and his colleagues have a rare opportunity to restore the luster of the Justice Department. The Brennan Center looks forward to working with the department and its leadership.”