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Lankford And Inhofe Break GOP Ranks To Confirm Garland As Attorney General

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U.S. Department of Justice
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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses Department of Justice employees in Washington shortly after being sworn in on Thursday.

While the majority of Senate Republicans voted Wednesday against the confirmation of Merrick Garland to serve as President Joe Biden's attorney general, Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe and James Lankford broke ranks and joined Democrats to vote in favor.

Lankford's office declined comment and Inhofe's office did not return a request for comment on the 70-30 vote. In a Facebook Live video posted Wednesday evening, though, Lankford discussed nominations, generally.

"This week, we've got quite a few nominations that are coming through the process. We have the nomination for the administrator for Housing and Urban Development, which I could not support. We had the new attorney general, Merrick Garland, which I did support today. We had a new administrator for the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], which I could not support. We may have some others that are coming up tomorrow, as well," Lankford said.

"I'm going to look at each one of them. Probably none of these I'm going to agree with everybody on. These are President Biden's picks, and philosophically we have some real differences of opinion. But I'm going to continue to evaluate whether they're qualified, ready or prepared for that," he said.

Garland has strong ties to Oklahoma, having supervised the investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He has said that investigating January's pro-Trump insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol will be his first priority upon taking office.

In 2016, Garland was infamously kept from the Supreme Court after his nomination by President Barack Obama by Senate Republicans, including Lankford and Inhofe, who claimed it was improper to seat a justice to the court in a presidential election year. Last year, both Lankford and Inhofe supported President Donald Trump's nominee to the court, Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed by Senate Republicans with less than two weeks from Election Day and less than three months left in Trump's term.

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