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Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate voted 70-30 on Wednesday to confirm Judge Merrick Garland as U.S. attorney general.

Why it matters: Garland takes over the Justice Department after a tumultuous four years under former President Trump, who frequently sought to politicize the law enforcement agency. The former Supreme Court nominee has pledged to make prosecuting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrectionists a top priority for the Justice Department.

  • Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that he will "supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol," as he did as a federal prosecutor investigating the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
  • The Justice Department is also overseeing an investigation into the business affairs of President Biden's son, Hunter. Garland testified that he hasn't spoken to the president about the issue.

Garland has promised to "to fend off any effort by anyone to make prosecutions or investigations partisan or political in any way."

  • "The president nominates the attorney general to be the lawyer, not for any individual, but for the people of the United States," he said during his confirmation hearing last month.

The big picture: Former President Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016, but Republicans, led by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked his nomination from moving forward.

  • A number of Republicans, however, crossed the aisle to vote in favor of Garland's attorney general confirmation on Wednesday, including McConnell.
  • Garland has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1997. Democrats were initially concerned about leaving Garland's judicial seat vacant, but those fears were alleviated after the party secured control of the Senate in January.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official

Migrants attempting to enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: David Peinado/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.

36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: $1 million ad buy defends Georgia law to business critics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A leading conservative group is targeting the business community with a seven-figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending Georgia's new voting law from its corporate critics, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By focusing on the C-suite through a network it watches, Heritage Action for America is offering a rejoinder to some companies — even Major League Baseball — after they waded so prominently into politics.

38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Advocates, Democrats plan to push major pot reform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Advocates and lawmakers favoring marijuana reform are trying to capitalize on the social justice movement and COVID-19 economic rebound to legalize and normalize the use of pot.

Why it matters: The supporters are also trying to take advantage of polls showing broad public support — and get ahead of the reality Democrats could lose their control of Congress after the midterm elections next year.

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