Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) plans to obstruct the planned confirmation vote of Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, delaying what was shaping up to be a quick process, according to Politico.
Cotton took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce his intentions to force a longer debate in the Senate over Garland’s confirmation, pointing out the Garland failed “to answer basic questions” on such key issues as illegal immigration, the death penalty, and gun rights, among other things. Cotton pointed out that this was the same strategy Senate Democrats used during Bill Barr’s confirmation process for the same position in the Trump Administration, noting that “we’re not going to have one standard for Trump’s nominees and another for Biden’s.”
Having to go through additional floor debate on the matter will push back the final confirmation vote back by at least another week, as the Senate also deals with other Biden Cabinet nominees and attempts to pass the widely-criticized coronavirus stimulus package.
During his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Garland did not give a clear answer on the death penalty, simply saying that he had “developed concerns” about the punishment. He also refused to answer the question of whether or not illegal immigration should continue being treated as a crime. Garland also pushed the repeatedly-debunked conspiracy theory that “far-right” and “white supremacist” terrorism is on the rise in the United States, implying that pursuing this nonexistent threat would be a major priority for his Justice Department.
Garland, who currently serves as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, was infamously nominated by Barack Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. But Senate Republicans, led by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), managed to successfully block his nomination until the 2016 election, when Donald Trump won and subsequently nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat instead. Several Republicans who opposed Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, including McConnell, have since signaled that they will support his nomination for Attorney General.