Merrick Garland showed impressive composure Monday during the first day of his Senate confirmation hearing. President Joe Biden nominated Garland as Attorney General in January after Garland was denied a vote for his Supreme Court nomination during the last year of the Barack Obama administration.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) asked Garland “when you talk about your aspirations and I’m wondering if you could just conclude by answering the question about your motivation, maybe some of your own family history in confronting hate and discrimination in American history,”

Garland said, after a short pause, “I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution … I feel an obligation to the country to pay back for protecting us. I want very much to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become. I’ll do my best to try to be that kind of attorney general.”

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While Garland has long been considered a centrist, his responses Monday indicated a more progressive view for the AG’s future. On inequality in the justice system, Garland acknowledged that “communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system … The mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice.”

Despite the GOP’s blocking of Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in 2016, Garland is expected to be confirmed with bipartisan support.

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