Obama Chooses Moderate Judge Merrick Garland as Supreme Court Nominee


Will Liberals and Progressives Be Pleased?

The Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Merrick Garland, is President Barack Obama's choice to present to the U.S. Senate as his nominee to the Supreme Court.

See graphic above for Garland's background

Garland is 63, widely considered a moderate, and was confirmed by a strong majority in 1997 to the D.C. Circuit. 

The President calls him one of America's "sharpest legal minds," and someone who is "uniquely qualified" to serve on the Supreme Court "immediately."

Judge Garland "has won praise in the past from Republicans and Democrats and is viewed as a moderate whose legal approach was shaped by his lengthy career as a federal prosecutor," Reuters reports.

In 2010, Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hath, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, described him as a “consensus nominee” who would “get a lot of votes.”

Before joining the Washington appeals court, Garland served as a senior Justice Department official and, before that, as a prosecutor and a lawyer in private practice with the Arnold & Porter firm.

His supporters often cite his role in the investigation of the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in which 168 people were killed as an illustration of his qualities as a lawyer.

The Wall Street Journal posted these responses to the nomination:

UC Irvine School of Law professor Rick Hasen, writing on Election Law Blog, calls it a compromise pick, saying “Garland is indeed a moderate, someone who will not excite the Democratic base the way other nominations would.”

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe said via email: “Judge Garland is a brilliant jurist whom I’ve admired ever since he was my constitutional law student. His modesty, humility, and moderation make him a particularly suitable choice for these divided times.”

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine School of Law, said by phone: “I think President Obama could not have picked anyone with better credentials than Merrick Garland. I’ve known him since 1969, we were competitors in high school debate. Merrick is brilliant, he’s impeccably qualified, he has no liberal paper trail. He’s everything Obama would want as a consensus pick. I think what Obama has done is pick somebody that’s unassailable. Whatever professional qualifications would make one suitable for the Supreme Court, Merrick has: Harvard Law School, clerked on the Supreme Court, big firm practice, prosecutor, 20 years on the DC. circuit.”


From the White House:

Eric Holder, Obama's former Attorney General, just posted this tweet:

Other responses via Twitter: