Merrick Garland’s AG confirmation delayed by GOP lawmakers

Sen. Tom Cotton leads the pack, but 50 Democrats in the Senate say they'll support Garland for attorney general.

President Joe Biden’s nominee for America’s next attorney general has hit another roadblock on his way to confirmation. 

Senator Tom Cotton tweeted on Wednesday that he is blocking the effort to expedite the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland for several reasons. 

Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland listens during his confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

“Democrats are trying to expedite Judge Garland’s confirmation vote,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m blocking them because Judge Garland has refused to answer basic questions, including whether illegally entering the country should remain a crime.”

“During his hearing, Judge Garland said he thinks the death penalty is unfairly applied,” Cotton continued. “I asked him for examples, and he said he is not familiar with the specific circumstances of the murderers on federal death row (including Dylann Roof and the Boston Bomber).”

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Cotton also noted several instances where he stated that Garland refused to answer questions related to the deportation of people who are in the U.S. illegally, as well as whether the president has the authority to ban sales of semi-automatic weapons. 

“Ensuring (that) the Senate has time to debate these issues and get answers is the same thing that Senate Democrats did for Bill Barr. We’re not going to have one standard for Trump’s nominees and another for Biden’s,” Cotton wrote

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Under Senate rules, any one member of a committee can slow down a nomination. Cotton’s opposition will delay the confirmation of Garland — the former chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — by up to a week. 

Republican senators Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have all said they will oppose Garland’s nomination. 

However, only 50 votes are needed to confirm Judge Garland as attorney general. All 50 Democrats in the Senate have said they will support his nomination, as have several GOPers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

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