Attorney General Merrick B. Garland was officially sworn in as the 86th Attorney General of the United States on March 11, 2021. As the chief law enforcement officer for the United States and career public servant, Attorney General Garland leads the Department of Justice’s 115,000 employees dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of justice on behalf of the American people.
Attorney General Garland was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952 and raised in the surrounding area. He graduated high school as valedictorian and enrolled at Harvard College, where he later graduated in 1974 summa cum laude. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977, he clerked for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Attorney General Garland first joined the Department of Justice in 1979 as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States.
In 1981 Attorney General Garland joined the law firm Arnold & Porter where he became partner in 1985. He returned to the Department of Justice as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1989 to 1992. After briefly returning to Arnold & Porter in 1992, Attorney General Garland continued his career in public service as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division. In 1994, he was promoted to Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. In this role he oversaw multiple high-profile cases, including the prosecutions of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. In April 1997, Attorney General Garland was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He served as Chief Judge from February 12, 2013 until February 11, 2020 and remained on the bench until his confirmation as Attorney General.
In addition to being a published author in the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal, Attorney General Garland has taught as a professor at Harvard Law School, served as the president of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, and as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.