President Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, Merrick Garland, is facing a series GOP roadblocks that will likely delay his confirmation to lead the Justice Department.
Garland’s nomination was initially blocked by Sen. Lindsey Graham over the impeachment of Donald Trump. Now, Sen. Tom Cotton — a member of the Judiciary Committee — is blocking an effort by Democrats to expedite Garland, whom they had hoped to confirm this week.
The Arkansas Republican fired off a flurry of tweets on Wednesday blissfully explaining his decision, saying that he’s blocking Judge Garland because his answers about the death penalty and gun sales were “inadequate.”
“Democrats are trying to expedite Judge Garland’s confirmation vote. I’m blocking them because Judge Garland has refused to answer basic questions, including whether illegally entering the country should remain a crime,” Cotton said in a string of tweets explaining his opposition.
Under the Senate’s rules, any one member can slow down a nomination and force Senate leadership to eat up days of time before a final vote.
Cotton along with GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), John Kennedy (La.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) voted against his nomination in committee.
All of these GOP senators played a role in the deadly insurrection on January 6 by amplifying Donald Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election that led to the attack on the Capitol. Garland has said the DOJ will investigate the events leading to the siege.
Despite the Republicans’ objections, Garland is expected to be easily confirmed to lead the Justice Department, after advancing out the committee this week in a 15-7 vote.
But Garland only needs 50 votes to be confirmed. No Democrat has said they will oppose him and he’s picked up support from Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (Iowa).