There's a new attorney general in town—and a new vacancy on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Merrick Garland, the court's chief judge, was confirmed as attorney general in a 70-30 Senate vote Wednesday, CBS reports. The confirmation comes almost five years to the day after former President Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court. Some of the Republican senators who refused to give him a hearing then voted to confirm him on Wednesday, the Hill reports. "I'm voting to confirm Judge Garland because of his long reputation as a straight shooter and a legal expert," Sen. Mitch McConnell said. "His left-of-center perspective has been within the legal mainstream."
"Let's hope our incoming attorney general applies that no-nonsense approach to the serious challenges facing the Department of Justice and our nation," the former Senate majority leader said. Those challenges will include the wide-ranging investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which Garland has vowed to make his top priority, the Washington Post reports. During a confirmation hearing last month, Garland also promised that the Justice Department would not be politicized under President Biden's administration. "I do not regard myself as anything other than the lawyer for the people of the United States," he said. "I am not the president's lawyer." (Read more Merrick Garland stories.)