Attorney General Pick to Signal Biden’s Broader Priorities

Shortlist of candidates includes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Sally Yates, Obama’s deputy attorney general

With two January runoff elections in Georgia approaching, control of the Senate is yet to be decided. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains why this makes Biden’s task of picking his cabinet even trickier. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News

President-elect Joe Biden is considering a shortlist for his attorney-general pick that includes?former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, according to people familiar with the matter.

The names are a sign that Mr. Biden is weighing whether to emphasize extensive prosecutorial experience or credibility with social-justice advocates in making his selection.

Civil-rights interest groups, such as Black Lives Matter, are pressing Mr. Biden to put equitable treatment of Blacks and other minorities in the criminal justice system at the center of the Justice Department’s work after nationwide protests over killings of Black people by police.

Other supporters are urging him to prioritize restoring a more predictable approach to sensitive prosecutions and other agency matters, after the Trump administration’s handling of cases involving the president’s allies and opponents engendered criticism.

Republicans, meanwhile, who are favored to maintain control of the Senate after a pair of runoffs in Georgia, have said they won’t confirm a radically progressive candidate. Mr. Biden has said he intends to select a diverse cabinet.

To Read the Full Story

Continue reading your article with
a WSJ membership

View Membership Options