Criminal Justice

Joe Biden Picks Merrick Garland for Attorney General

The Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates.

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The Joe Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates. It probably won't be the last.

"According to people familiar with the decision," reports The Washington Post, the incoming president has picked Merrick Garland "to become the next attorney general." Garland is the rare federal appellate judge who is practically a household name. In 2016, President Barack Obama tapped Garland, a long-serving judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Garland pick was effectively filibustered by the Republican-controlled Senate, which refused to even hold hearings on the nominee. President Donald Trump later appointed Neil Gorsuch to fill the Scalia vacancy.

Many rank-and-file Democrats are sure to enjoy the sight of Garland being readily confirmed by what now looks to be a Democratically-run Senate thanks to the results from yesterday's special elections in Georgia. Garland may even enjoy a satisfied smirk or two himself.

But as I've previously noted, "the idea of Garland serving as attorney general is also likely to trouble many criminal justice reform advocates. That is because Garland has the sort of judicial record that police and prosecutors are quite happy to see." A former federal prosecutor himself, Garland has seemed all-too-content to give law enforcement officials the benefit of the doubt in many cases.

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage reached a similar conclusion after conducting his own review of Garland's judicial record. "In close cases involving criminal law," Savage reported, Garland "has been far more likely to side with the police and prosecutors over people accused of crimes."

Garland's elevation to the position of attorney general does contain one potentially huge silver lining for the criminal justice reform crowd. With Garland gone from the D.C. Circuit, Biden will have the opportunity to name a new jurist to what is often called the second most powerful court in the nation. That's a great opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with a lawyer whose past experience includes battling the government in court, such as a current or former criminal defense attorney, public defender, or public interest litigator.

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  1. Now I was assured that democrats were going to make criminal justice reform a priority, thanks to the earnest rioting and protesting of BLM.

    I guess they have to sacrifice principles for political power, what with controlling the entire federal government and all.

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  2. Shitty establishment politician appoints shitty career bureaucrat. Where is my shocked face.

    1. Goddamn right. I’m baffled at all these fucking morons thinking that somehow Biden/Harris were gonna be “kinder and gentler” or some such claptrap. Fucking Blue-Pilled Fuckwads….

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  3. Garland’s elevation to the position of attorney general does contain one potentially huge silver lining for the criminal justice reform crowd. … That’s a great opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with a lawyer whose past experience includes battling the government in court, such as a current or former criminal defense attorney, public defender, or public interest litigator.

    And what makes you think he’ll do that right after he’s done the complete opposite?

    1. Reason’s naked preference for the Democrats is disgusting.

    2. Exactly. It also gives an opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with someone much much worse. My guess is he’ll pardon Leland Yee and give him the job assuming he’s already chosen the four pack he needs for SCOTUS.

      1. And when he does, he will be lauded for his staunch anti-gun record, and his international relations expertise.

  4. “The Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates.”

    What the fuck did you think would happen? I’ve seen no end of orange man bad reporting here for the past four years; now enjoy the fruits of your misguided virtue.

    1. Over/Under on him prosecuting gun manufacturers after the next mass shooting (have there been any in the last two years or has the media just completely ignored them since Vegas and that school in Florida?).

  5. Well, at least Garland isn’t on SCOTUS. Thank you, Repubs, for blocking him. And thanks to whomever recommended Gorsuch.

    1. This.

      I was thinking that it’s probably a major downgrade to go from Federal Circuit Judge to AG for a politician that won because he wasn’t Trump. Seems a sort of slap too. It means that Biden likely won’t nominate him for SCOTUS if given the opportunity, and all he’ll do is take shit. I mean he’ll get to stroke a mean power boner, but that won’t last forever like being a Circuit Judge does.

  6. BTW, protesters are storming the capitol.

    Remember:
    1. Mostly peaceful
    2. The worst actors are false-flag agitators

    1. Also true of the protesting over the last year.

  7. “disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates”

    Maybe the very few who actually pay attention to and understand policy. Most “advocates” will know only that he was appointed by a Democrat, and that’s good enough for them.

    1. Most people actually love authority, when it’s directed at those they do not like or agree with.

  8. Cue the idiot chorus of “You wanted this! You didn’t criticize Biden enough! It’s your fault!”

    1. It is your fault. You have an ocean of blood on your hands. I hope that your choice causes great suffering for you.

      You deserve it.

  9. Protestors have breached the capitol building.

    This is what the collapse of a republic looks like. All of this over the failed election of a failed reality tv star. Pathetic.

    1. I was told that civilians would be no match for the federal government and its violence.

      Ah, well. There goes the neighborhood.

      1. They won’t be, if it comes to bear. I certainly hope this does not get that far, but if it does, I will not weep for traitors.

        George Washington was not merciful when he put down the Whiskey Rebellion, and neither should we be here.

        1. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

          What are you gonna do you pathetic pussy faggot, issue another challenge for a fistfight and then disappear into the ether when someone accepts? Hide under your couch with your face diaper until the Apache gunships arrive to gun down all the Trumpalos? Lmfao

          George Washington also wasn’t particularly merciful when he deposed a duly elected and legally established colonial government and prosecuted a decade long bloody fight that only about 1/4 of the US population supported. You might want to pick better exemplars of your totalitarian bloodthirst. Stalin is a good one. You’ve already spent considerable time on your other socks defending his historical record.

        2. I will not weep for traitors.

          And then invokes the name of George Washington, a British subject who took up arms against the crown.

          1. If you mean to support a rebellion, then clearly say so. Are you against the constitution, or for it?

            1. I mean that he was a de facto traitor. That’s all I said. But you knew that.

              1. Don’t be so certain that Expresso Liar knows ANY history.

    2. Impossible. Only leftists are violent. Has to be the work of Antifa infiltrators.

      1. Remember when you spent the entire last 12 months arguing that occupation of federal property was peaceful protest and that any attempt to disperse the crowd was fascist? Lmfao

    3. They’re just peaceful protesters.

    4. Tell it to the leftists that disrupted the Kavanaugh hearings, and harassed officials in the hallways of Congress.

      1. Of the “me too” fauxtesters who tried to claw their way through the doors of the Supreme Court to prevent him from being sworn in.

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  10. “That’s a great opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with a lawyer whose past experience includes battling the government in court”

    What is with this retard assessment? So Garland is bad for criminal justice, Biden has almost a half century experience screwing people with criminal justice, and Harris is an absolute monster. And whatever clown wrote this piece thinks he’ll appoint a “good guy”?

    The most likely appointment will obviously be someone who gets off by locking people in cages for fun and profit.

  11. The Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates.

    The first of many, I’m sure. But thank God we got rid of that EVUL ORANGE LITERALNAZI.

    1. Joe Biden loves the dirty niggers he’s going to throw in prison, unlike that racist Trump who hated all those dirty niggers he pardoned.

  12. The Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates.

    It almost makes me think Reason writers don’t read their own articles, or at the least, don’t know anything about America Before Twitter.

    The election of Joe Biden was the first disappointment delivered to criminal justice reform advocates.

    1. But he had Kamala Harris as Veep…..

      Oh… I see your point.

      1. That first disappointment was a two-fer.

  13. Better than William Barr though or any conservative you’d get from Trump.

    1. With luck, the democrats will be overthrown and people like Biden and Garland will be out of the picture.

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  15. Garland’s elevation to the position of attorney general does contain one potentially huge silver lining for the criminal justice reform crowd. With Garland gone from the D.C. Circuit, Biden will have the opportunity to name a new jurist to what is often called the second most powerful court in the nation. That’s a great opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with a lawyer whose past experience includes battling the government in court, such as a current or former criminal defense attorney, public defender, or public interest litigator.

    I can only assume that Damon is just chasing clicks on his previous article here. Otherwise he is a fantasist and a dork. Why else would one watch Biden be awful, and then about-face and presume Biden will now do something good? This is an “opportunity” for Biden to make the courts more progressive, which means the rule of law will give way to special favors and the rule of power.

  16. Are there no Libertarian minds at reason?

    Appointing a statist jurist to AG means he can appoint a criminal justice reformer to the circuit court?

    Ok…. I suppose that could happen.

    But what logic are you using to arrive at that? Wishful thinking?

    Biden picked Garland for AG. He picked Harris for VP. I detect a pattern. Pro establishment, big state, police, prosecution….. I don’t see defense of civil rights, criminal justice reform, etc.

    Are you using alternate facts? Or did I miss something?

  17. Sort of relieved it is not Cuomo.

    1. They didn’t want all the criminals to die. They want them to be able to vote later.

  18. Biden was the first disappointment. Harris was the second one.
    Not sure if Garland could be any worse than POTUS and VPOTUS.

  19. Merrick Garland was a poor choice for the Supreme Court and a poor choice for Attorney General. Biden/Harris are already a disaster and they haven’t even been sworn in yet.

    With luck, Biden/Harris will breakup the Democrat party into pieces and Trump/Pence will breakup the Republican party into pieces also. Success for the country would be to fracture both Republocrats parties into smaller third parties.

    1. Even better, there could be a full scale revolt over the bullshit election and the blue state WuFlu tyranny. With no more democrats in charge, attention can be turned to excising the RINO 5th column.

  20. Garland’s elevation to the position of attorney general does contain one potentially huge silver lining for the criminal justice reform crowd. With Garland gone from the D.C. Circuit, Biden will have the opportunity to name a new jurist to what is often called the second most powerful court in the nation. That’s a great opportunity for Biden to replace Garland with a lawyer whose past experience includes battling the government in court, such as a current or former criminal defense attorney, public defender, or public interest litigator.

    There’s a big difference between a criminal defense lawyer or a public defender and a public interest litigator. Joe will be appointing public interest litigators – advocates for big government suing the government to force them to recognize special rights for trans-gendered left-handed Guatemalan tree frogs or some such shit. In the name of the public, of course. Just about anything with “public interest” in the name is the equivalent of naming your group the people’s democratic republic and should be treated just the same.

  21. lulz

    I can’t wait to see Biden appoint a bunch of judges who enjoy locking up dem voters.

  22. So, does Garland have the integrity the Democrats have been claiming ever since he was nominated for the supreme court, or will he let all the criminals of the Obama administration walk?

    -jcr

  23. Well now we know who the real law-and-order President is.
    Pushed draconian anti-crime bill through Congress — check.
    Appointed notorious prosecutor as VP — check.
    Appointed pro-law enforcement judge to AG — check.
    Pushing for national mandates on personal behavior — check.

    Maybe the Biden/Harris plan is to make everyone a felon, then say they are the party offering to restore voting rights to felons.

  24. Why would a puppet of the Left appoint a judge who sides with the people?

  25. Picking a person with experience in defending clients is a great idea but is it practical. Most public defenders don’t get high profile cases. These are people doing workman jobs, day in and day out. They are unlikely to make anyone radar for advancement.

    You need a group to push these people onto the bench. Group like the Federalist Society push candidates. I think you would need a group like that to be successful.

  26. What about “equity” and “inclusion” in the Biden cabinet? Its like certain groups are way overrepresented….oh yeah its the democratic party…Italian/Irish/German..need not apply..ha ha ha

    1. The President is of Irish descent. He quotes Irish poets, probably more than you.

      I am also guessing if you did a DNA test of cabinet you would find many have Irish, German and Italian heritage in their make-up. Even if there primary heritage is different. Remember even President Obama has some Irish roots.

      Finally it is worth noting that we all share a common heritage and that if you look at our DNA and go back far enough we are all Africans.

  27. “The Joe Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates.”

    Correction. The Joe Biden administration has just delivered its first disappointment to criminal justice reform advocates at Reason who hypocritically campaigned for Biden (knowing his disgraceful track record) and who never credited Trump for his criminal justice reforms (because they suffer from TDS and want to placate Charles Koch).

  28. Biden’s nomination of Garland for AG indicates that he was/is too partisan to be qualified to serve on SCOTUS.

  29. Biden will have the opportunity
    to appoint a fair and wise unicorn that eats injustice and shits civil libertarian rainbows. There will be so many opportunities for a Biden/Harris, then Harris/? administration to pleasantly surprise us by exceeding the lowest of expectations BUT IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

  30. Biden will never nominate anyone that battles the government. Keep dreaming.

  31. I think the mood today is a little on the side of “tough on crime.” But I expect Republicans to be all about leniency all of a sudden.

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