Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Justice Department, will receive his confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the end of February, as reported by Politico. The hearing is scheduled to run from February 22 through February 23, with the confirmation vote taking place on March 1. The schedule was confirmed following an agreement by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican.
Durbin released a statement praising the bipartisan decision.
“I’m pleased that we can announce that the Committee will be moving forward on a bipartisan basis. Judge Garland will serve the Justice Department and our country with honor and integrity. He is a consensus pick who should be confirmed swiftly on his merits,” read Durbin’s statement.
Negotiations in the Senate over determining an organizing resolution to govern the chamber that is split 50-50 saw Garland’s confirmation hearing become something of a bargaining chip following President Biden’s announcement of his plans to nominate on January 7. Before the resolution went into effect, Republicans retained their hold on the chair roles. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham was the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair until the agreement was reached last week, giving him the right to approve Durbin’s request for a hearing.
When the Illinois senator sought to hold Garland’s hearing on February 8, Graham refused because he claimed it violated the committee’s standard of only holding a confirmation hearing 28 days after receiving paperwork. Graham also argued that there was not enough time to consider Garland’s appointment due to the forthcoming Senate impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump.
Grassley’s statement revealed the decision to brush aside the 28-day rule because of the significance of the position.
“Given these accommodations, I expect a thorough review of Judge Garland’s qualifications as well as swift and transparent responses going forward,” the Iowa senator continued.
On the first day of the hearing, Garland will appear in front of the committee, while they will receive testimony from outside witnesses on the second day. On February 24, Garland will receive questions for the record from senators and will be given until February 28 to submit his responses.
Garland was previously the chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and was chosen by former President Barack Obama to assume a seat on the Supreme Court in March 2016. The nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans, who refused to hold hearings on the vacancy.