The Justice Department's mission to enforce the 1957 Civil Rights Act "remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice", said Garland, whose confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin Monday. "'Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change". Biden has pledged not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.
He said that if confirmed, he would reaffirm "policies that protect the independence of the department from partisan influence in law enforcement investigations (and) that strictly regulate communications with the White House".
Seen as a moderate liberal, in 2016 he was nominated by then Democratic president Barack Obama to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Garland is no stranger to extremist violence. "That critical work is but a part of the broad scope of the Department's responsibilities".
Garland also said the country faces a serious threat of extremism, as exemplified by the deadly January 6 attack by Trump supporters on the US Capitol, which shut down the legislature as lawmakers met to certify Biden's election win.
In his remarks, Garland called the January 6 riot a "heinous attack" on the peaceful transfer of power, and said that "battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central" to the Justice Department's mission 150 years after its founding. You are not the president or the vice president's lawyer.
In testimony prepared for his confirmation hearing tomorrow and Tuesday, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland indicated he wants to remove the taint of political interference left on the department by Trump.
Several Senate Judiciary Republicans said Wednesday they would press Garland during his confirmation hearing to commit to investigating COVID-19 nursing home deaths, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's controversial reporting of nursing home death totals in his state.
Garland got a boost Friday when four former attorneys general, including two Republicans, were among bipartisan groups of Justice Department alums and former federal judges who announced for the nominee.
Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, who both served as attorneys general in the George W. Bush administration, were among more than 150 former Justice officials and US attorneys who lauded the federal appeals court judge as "the right person" for a hard job following the tumult of the Trump administration. Before he was a judge, he served within the ranks at the Justice Department as an assistant USA attorney in Washington, D.C., deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division, and as principal associate deputy attorney general. "Judge Garland is the right person to ensure the fair administration of justice, whether related to national security, public integrity, civil rights, antitrust, crime, or other pressing issues". He graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in 1974 and Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1977.