In a Republican-controlled Senate, Jones was seen as the easiest candidate to confirm because of his strong ties across the gang. Garland was also viewed as a risk in that it would be difficult to confirm a replacement for him in the appeals court.
However, with the Democrats expected to win a majority with two disgruntled victories in Georgia, confirmation issues with other candidates largely resolved. The selection could be announced on Thursday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Told reporters on Wednesday.
The Biden transition declined to comment.
Garland served on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for more than two decades after receiving a 1997 nomination from President Bill Clinton. That year he received the confirmation with 76 to 23 votes.
When Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in early 2016, President Barack Obama turned to Garland in the hope that the then-President would make a consensus decision on the vacancy. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied Garland a hearing or vote and hung the nomination for almost a year. When Donald Trump won the election in 2016, any prospect of Garland’s confirmation ended.
Prior to his appointment as judge, Garland was a senior Justice Department officer and prosecutor on high-profile murder cases.
Should Garland be confirmed, he will be handed a number of sensitive questions, including whether and how Trump should be investigated for episodes of potential obstruction of justice described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, as well as allegations of tax fraud and other crimes-related Trump’s business relationships.
Citing a longstanding Justice Department legal opinion that ruled out criminal charges against a seated president, Mueller did not make a definitive conclusion on the disability allegations, although former Attorney General William Barr said none of the incidents would have set out a crime even without his opinion. However, the statement does not rule out the persecution of a former president.
With Garland being considered as a potential attorney general election, he took some unusual steps to stay above the ethical charge. In early December, he dismissed a number of civil and criminal cases against the U.S. government, including appeals related to a number of executions the Trump administration is conducting in the weeks leading up to the change in administration.
Biden’s choice of Garland has a Democratic advantage that may have made him more attractive given the Democrats’ expected victory in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff: he opens a seat on the DC Circuit, widely believed to be the second most powerful court in the Country.
Given that the Democrats are likely to take control of the Senate – and the filibuster for low- and middle-level judicial nominations in 2013 – it should be relatively easy to confirm a Garland successor. Some people close to Garland thought he would likely declare senior status soon and open a court position during the new administration, regardless of the Georgia result and whether or not he was won for the attorney general slot.
The garland’s election is likely to be received very positively by the Hill Democrats, who continued to resent the Senate Republican’s refusal to hear him in 2016. However, some Senate Democrats had been pushing for Jones to be nominated, and some of them wrote a letter to Biden and his transition team asking the president-elect to appoint his former colleague. The letter, what was first reported by HuffPostwas organized by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and sent to Biden’s team shortly after Christmas.