Judge Merrick Garland, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama was blocked by Senate Republicans, has no interest in being the new FBI director, according to associates.
Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, had been promoted for the job by some of the same Senate Republicans who blocked his nomination and refused to give him a Senate hearing.
Garland has declined to comment on the reports, but friends contacted reporters Tuesday morning to say speculation about Garland was groundless.
“He loves his job and is not interested in leaving the judiciary,” said one, who spoke on condition of not being named.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been among those saying Garland should be considered to replace fired FBI director James B. Comey.
“I have spoken with the president about it. I recommended Merrick Garland,” McConnell told Bloomberg News in an interview. “I think if he picks someone with a deep background in law enforcement who has no history of political involvement, a genuine expert, and the reason I mention Garland, he’s an example of that.”
McConnell and other Republican senators have said in the past that Garland would make a good Supreme Court justice. But immediately after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, McConnell said the Republican-controlled Senate would leave the job open so the next president could fill the vacancy.
They refused to grant Garland a hearing after Obama nominated him the next month.
Some liberals and Democrats seethed that Republicans were promoting Garland for the FBI job after refusing to act on his Supreme Court nomination. They said the interest was in opening a spot on the circuit court for a Trump administration nominee. Federal judges have lifetime appointments.