Republican Ohio Sen. JD Vance announced Tuesday that he would place a hold on most Biden administration Department of Justice nominees in response to the indictment of former President Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump is merely the latest victim of a Department of Justice that cares more about politics than law enforcement. Merrick Garland’s department harasses Christians for pro-life advocacy, but allows hardened criminals to walk our streets unpunished. This must stop, and I will do everything in my ability to ensure it does,” Vance said in a statement. “Starting today, I will hold all Department of Justice nominations. If Merrick Garland wants to use these officials to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, we will grind his department to a halt.”
Vance’s office clarified that his hold applies to all DOJ appointees, except U.S. Marshals. Nine senior DOJ positions are currently vacant, according to The Washington Post’s Political Appointee Tracker. Several U.S. Attorney positions also remain vacant.
Until Merrick Garland stops using his agency to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, I will hold all DoJ nominees. pic.twitter.com/UVRwi6Ue01
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) June 13, 2023
Trump was indicted on 37 counts stemming from his refusal to return classified documents in his possession to the federal government. Many Republicans have argued that the charges, which include violations of the Espionage Act, constitute an abuse of power. Trump himself has blasted the indictment as a “witch hunt” and “election interference.” (RELATED: Special Counsel Jack Smith Breaks Silence On Trump Indictment)
Republicans have made extensive use of holds, which allow any one senator to prevent the speedy passage of legislation or confirmations, throughout Biden’s tenure. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton placed holds on DOJ nominees in 2022, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley did so for the Department of Defense. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville currently has holds on DOD nominees as a response to a Pentagon policy that gives service members paid leave and funding for abortion travel.