Merrick Garland delivers opening statement at confirmation hearing

The attorney general nominee testifies at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
7:31 | 02/22/21

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Transcript for Merrick Garland delivers opening statement at confirmation hearing
Thank you mr. chairman and ranking member members at the judiciary community. I am honored to appear before you today it's a president's nominee to be the attorney general. I would like first to take this opportunity to introduce you to my wife Lynne. My daughters Jessie and backe and my son in laws and I am grateful to them. My entire extended family and is watching today on C span. Everyday. Life. The president nominates the attorney general to be the lawyer you not training individual. For the people of the United States. July 20 to when he. Marked 350. Anniversary of the founding of the Department of Justice. Making this a fitting time remembered the mission of the attorney general. End of the department. Is a fitting time to reaffirm. That the rule roll up the attorney general. This is serve the rule of law. And to ensure equal justice. Under law. And it is a fitting time to recognize the more than 1151000. Career employees of the department. S law enforcement agencies. And their commitment to serve the cause of justice. And protect the safety. Of our communities. If I have confirmed as attorney general. Will be the culmination of a career I have dedicated. To ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced. And the rights of all Americans. Are protected. Four I became a Josh almost one in four years ago a significant portion my professional life was spent at the Justice Department. As a special assistant to Ben civil anti last of the trio of post Watergate attorneys general. As a line assistant US attorney. Is a supervisor in the criminal division. And finally has a senior official that are. Many in the policies at the Justice Department developed during those years. The foundation. For re affirming the norms couple ensure that the department and years to the rule of law. He's our policies that protect the independence of the department from partisan influence and law enforcement. That's strictly regulate communications with the White House. And establish guidelines for FBI domestic operations and foreign intelligence collection. And ensure a respectful treatment of the press. That read the Freedom of Information Act generously. Respect the professionalism. Of DOJ employees. And that's sat out the principles of federal prosecution. To guide the exercise. Prosecutorial discretion. Conversations. That I have had with many of you before this hearing. You have asked why I would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as a judge. I've told you that I loved being a charge. I've also told you that this is an important moment for me to step forward. Because of my deep respect of the department of justice. And for its critical role of ensuring the rule of law. Celebrating DOJ's 150 year reminds us of the origins of the department. Which was founded during reconstruction. In the aftermath of the civil war to secure this civil rights that were promised. In the thirteenth fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. The first attorney general appointed by president grant to head the new department. Leaded and a concerted battle to protect black voting rights from the violence of white extremists. Successfully prosecuting hundreds of cases against shook white supremacist members of the Ku Klux Klan. Almost a century later. Civil Rights Act of 1957. Created the department's civil rights division. With a mission to a poll this civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. Particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Back nation. On the website of the department's civil rights division remains urgent because we'd do not yet have equal justice. Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing. Education. Employment. And in the criminal just six system. And they bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic. Pollution. And climate change. 150 years after the department's founding. Paddling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions. Also remains central to the department's mission. From 1995. To 1997. I supervise the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. Who sought to spark a revolution that that would topple the federal government. Confirmed. I will supervise. The prosecution of white supremacist and others. Who stormed the capitol on January 6. Heinous attack. It sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy. A peaceful transfer of power. To a newly elected government. And that critical work to spot a power of the broad scope of the department's responsibilities. Justice Department protects Americans from environmental degradation. And the abuse of market more. From fraud and corruption. From violent crime and cyber crime. From drug trafficking and child exploitation. And it must do all of this with air without ever taking its and Auckland the risk. Of another devastating attack. I foreign terrorists. Attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the constitution. United States against all enemies. Four M and domestic. I am mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes this role. As attorney general later Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson famously said quote. The prosecutor has more control over life liberty reputation. And any other person in America. While prosecutors and their best or one of the most beneficent forces in our society. When they act from malice. Or other based mode motives. They are one of the worst. Jackson then went on to say. The citizens' safety lies. In the prosecutor. Who tempers zeal which human kindness. Seeks truth and that victims. Who serves the law and not factional purposes. And crew approaches the task with humility. That was a prosecutor I tried to be. In my prior service and the Department of Justice. That is the spirit I tried to bring. My tenure as a federal judge. And if confirmed I promise to do my best. To live up to that and teal. As attorney general. Thank you.

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