Merrick Garland to transfer power during back surgery

January 30, 2024

Attorney General Merrick Garland will be out of commission this weekend due to back surgery and is going out of his way to make sure that there are no doubts about who will be in charge during his absence. The unusual, early announcement by the Biden administration’s top law enforcement officer is intended to avoid the storm of criticism Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin faced recently after failing to tell colleagues and the White House when he was hospitalized for prostate cancer surgery and was readmitted for complications. Justice Department spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement Monday that Garland is scheduled to have a “minimally invasive back procedure” Saturday to treat spinal stenosis — a narrowing of spaces in vertebrae.