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Merrick Garland Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of Attorney General Merrick Garland, former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.


Birth date: November 13, 1952

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Birth name: Merrick Brian Garland

Father: Cyril Garland, founder of an advertising agency

Mother: Shirley (Horwitz) Garland, community volunteer

Marriage: Lynn (Rosenman) Garland (1987-present)

Children: Jessica and Rebecca

Education: Harvard University, A.B., 1974, graduated summa cum laude; Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977, graduated magna cum laude

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Garland supervised the investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and oversaw the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh. He also led the investigations of the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta and the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

He paid for law school by working in a shoe store, selling his comic books and tutoring undergraduates.

He was a candidate for the Supreme Court twice before President Barack Obama nominated him, considered for seats ultimately filled by Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Tutors elementary school children in reading and math.


1977-1978 – Clerks for Second Circuit Judge Henry Friendly.

1978-1979 – Clerks for US Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan.

1979-1981 – Special assistant to the attorney general.

1981-1989 – Joins the law firm Arnold & Porter as an associate and is promoted to partner in 1985.

1989-1992 – Assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia.

1992-1993 – Returns to Arnold & Porter as partner.

1993-1994 – Deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

1994-1997 – Principal associate deputy attorney general.

1997-March 2021 – Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Garland serves on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. It took more than a year for Garland to be confirmed in the Senate, as lawmakers questioned whether the vacant seat on the court should be filled at all.

2013 – Becomes chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

March 16, 2016 – Obama nominates Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. For months, Senate Republicans refuse to hold confirmation hearings.

January 3, 2017 – Garland’s nomination expires. He returns to his position as chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

February 13, 2020 – Garland steps down as chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Sri Srinivasan takes over.

January 7, 2021 – President-elect Joe Biden announces Garland as his pick for US attorney general.

March 10, 2021The Senate confirms Garland as US attorney general with a 70-30 vote.

March 11, 2021 – Garland is officially sworn in as the 86th attorney general by Vice President Kamala Harris.

July 1, 2021 – Garland orders a temporary halt to federal executions as Justice Department senior officials review the policies and procedures for the controversial punishment.

June 30, 2022 – The Justice Department announces that Garland is scheduled to undergo a medical procedure for benign enlargement of the prostate on July 7. The deputy attorney general will assume the duties of the attorney general during the surgery.

February 3, 2024 – A Department of Justice spokesperson says that Garland has resumed his official duties after undergoing a “minimally invasive back procedure.” The DOJ announced ahead of the procedure that, while Garland would be under anesthesia for “about 90 minutes,” the deputy attorney general would assume his duties “shortly before the procedure, during the procedure, and for a brief period following the procedure to allow for recovery from general anesthesia.”

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