Investigating the attack on the Capitol earlier this year will be a priority for Judge Merrick Garland, who was elected as the new attorney general by President Joe Biden, a position on par with the attorney general.
At the Senate confirmation hearing, Garland was particularly concerned about the threat of domestic terrorism in the US mirroring the Capitol invasion. The judge who led the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 said the United States is going through a “more dangerous period” than it was then.
On the morning of April 19, 1995, two anti-government fighters blew up a truck in a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds. The attack has become one of the greatest examples of terrorism in the US.
For Garland, however, the Capitol invasion was “the most heinous attack on democratic processes” he has ever seen. The judge promised the senators that he would give the prosecutors investigating the case “all necessary resources” if he were to run the Justice Department.
In light of episodes of police violence against African Americans that sparked a national debate about structural racism among security forces, Garland said he did not support proposals to withdraw federal funds from the police. However, the judge found that “color communities and other minorities continue to face discrimination in the areas of housing, education, employment and criminal justice”. “I see my civil rights responsibility at the top of my list of top priorities,” Garland said.
Although Garland has no regrets petitioning for the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh, one of those responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, he said his position on executions has evolved since then, largely due to the disproportionate impact it had on the Afro community and the number of beliefs that are reversed by new genetic analysis.
Garland most likely said it was a return to the stance of the Obama administration in imposing a moratorium on federal executions.
Garland also stressed that he would appreciate his independence from the White House. “I can assure you that I do not see myself as anything other than the people’s advocate. I am not the lawyer for the president, I am the lawyer for the United States, ”he said.