Merrick Garland is the 86th US attorney general since March 2021. On Thursday, he issued a statement at the Justice Department, days after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida.

Garland served as a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1997 to 2021. He attended Harvard University for his undergraduate and legal education.

Born on November 13, 1952, in Chicago, Garland grew up in the northern Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood. His mother Shirley was a director of volunteer services at Chicago’s Council for Jewish Elderly. His father, Cyril Garland headed Garland Advertising, a small business. He is a second cousin of six-term Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

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The 69-year-old attended Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois. After high school, Garland studied social studies at Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard in 1974 as class valedictorian. Garland then attended Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated from Harvard Law in 1977 with a Juris Doctor magna cum laude.

After graduating from law school, Garland worked as a judicial law clerk for two years. He then spent two years as a special assistant to US Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti.

He entered private practice at the law firm Arnold & Porter. In 1993, Garland joined the new Clinton administration as deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. He also served as co-chair of the administrative law section of the District of Columbia Bar from 1991 to 1994.

On September 6, 1995, then-President Bill Clinton nominated Garland to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

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Garland became chief judge of the DC Circuit on February 12, 2013. He retired from federal judicial service on March 11, 2021, to accept his appointment as the US Attorney General.

Garland married his wife, Lynn, at the Harvard Club in Manhattan in September 1987. The couple has two daughters, Rebecca and Jessica, who both are graduates of Yale University.