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February 25, 2021 25 min

Five years ago, Judge Merrick B. Garland became a high-profile casualty of Washington’s political dysfunction. President Barack Obama selected him to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senate Republicans blocked his nomination. In the process, Mr. Garland became known for the job he didn’t get.

Now, after being nominated by the Biden administration to become the next attorney general, Mr. Garland is finding professional qualifications under scrutiny once again. In light of the attack on the Capitol, we explore how his career leading investigations into domestic terrorism prepared him for his Senate confirmation hearing.

Guest: Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, who spoke with Judge Merrick B. Garland.

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Background reading: 

  • In his confirmation hearing this week, Mr. Garland said the United States now faced “a more dangerous period” from domestic extremists than at the time of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Here’s why Mr. Garland described his experience leading the Justice Department’s investigation into the 1995 bombing as “the most important thing I have ever done in my life.”
  • For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily. Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday. 

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