The Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as U.S. attorney general Wednesday in a final vote of 70-30. Garland’s confirmation is a turning point for the Justice Department and has seen bipartisan praise despite the thirty GOP nay votes.

Garland served in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit and pledged that he will “fend off any effort by anyone” to sway a Justice Department investigation with partisan influence. Garland has committed that his first priory as AG is to fully prosecute the rioters from the January 6 Capitol insurrection. During the first day of the Senate hearing for Garland’s nomination, the judge offered a story about his personal connection to the Justice Department. “I come from a family where my grandparents fled Antisemitism and persecution,” Garland told Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey). “The country took us in and protected us. I feel an obligation to the country to pay back.”

“America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). He called Garland “someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) voted in favor of Garland’s confirmation. When Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2015, McConnell was the sole roadblock that denied the judge a vote in the Senate. Now, McConnell said he voted in favor of Garland “because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert.”

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