The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as Attorney General of the United States on Wednesday, with even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—who denied the former circuit judge an opportunity to be a Supreme Court justice half a decade ago—joining in the chorus of bipartisan approval.
Garland will become attorney general by a 70-30 vote margin.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il.), the majority whip who chairs the Judiciary Committee that approved his nomination, kept unanimity in the Democratic caucus, won the support of 20 Republicans, and applauded the vote.
“Merrick Garland is determined to write a new chapter of public service in his life – and the Senate has finally given him that opportunity,” Durbin said in a statement. “He is the right person for this moment in history to lead the Department of Justice.”
Now the country’s top prosecutor, Garland may instead have been called justice had McConnell not blocked a hearing and a vote on his confirmation in 2016. The so-called McConnell rule, ostensibly forbidding the confirmation of justices in an election year, was later scrapped by the then-Republican majority during the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.