Merrick Garland Having Surgery, Will Delegate Duties

Justice Department is making the disclosure under new federal guidelines
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2024 12:00 AM CST
Merrick Garland Having Surgery, Will Delegate Duties
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland speaks during a news conference where he and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta shared the findings of a federal report into the law enforcement response to a school shooting at Robb Elementary, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, in Uvalde, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Attorney General Merrick Garland will undergo back surgery this weekend and delegate his duties to the deputy attorney general during the procedure, the Justice Department said Monday. Garland, 71, will be under general anesthesia during the back procedure on Saturday, which will last about 90 minutes and is "minimally invasive," said Xochitl Hinojosa, director of public affairs at the Justice Department. He is expected to return home the same day, the AP reports. Garland will delegate his duties to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco shortly before, during, and for a short time after the procedure as he recovers from the anesthesia, the statement said. He is expected to return to work the week of Feb. 5.

The news comes as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin returned to work at the Pentagon Monday after a nearly month-long absence following a hospitalization related to prostate cancer that was criticized for being kept secret for days. Austin's lack of disclosure prompted two ongoing reviews as well as changes in federal guidelines to ensure the White House will be informed any time a Cabinet head can't carry out their job. The Justice Department notified the White House of the plans to delegate Garland's duties under the new guidelines, White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton confirmed.

(More Merrick Garland stories.)

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