Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick for attorney general, received glowing remarks from one of the Republican witnesses at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday: former Clinton special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
Starr, one of the five witnesses testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Garland, sang the praises of the DC circuit court judge while acknowledging the difficulties of the job.
“I’d like to focus very briefly on leadership and the universal respect that the judge garnered during his years as chief judge of the DC Circuit,” the prosecutor-turned-Fox News contributor said.
“He was not only viewed, as he is, as a superb jurist, but he was a superb leader of the court. A leader who listened carefully to his colleagues and who treated all persons in the court family with dignity and respect.”
While discussing the challenges that face an attorney general, Starr noted that Garland will need to make tough calls on tough issues.
“It’s a hard job. Controversy – at times quite bitter – goes with the territory,” he said.
Starr has long been a supporter of Garland.
When then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the nation’s highest bench following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Starr, a retired judge himself, praised the pick and urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring his nomination to a vote.
“Chief Judge Garland is a brilliant jurist who believes in and upholds the rule of law undergirding our constitutional republic. I have known him well for many years. He is superbly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.”
“Good government calls for us to have a hearing and vote up or down,” Starr said while speaking at Baylor University at the time, while was serving as president of the institution.
Starr was invited to testify before the committee by the Republicans.
He served in the George H.W. Bush administration as solicitor general, but became best known for his work as an independent counsel on the Whitewater investigation into then-President Clinton.
Starr’s work eventually uncovered Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to his impeachment in the House.