President Obama is nominating 63-year-old Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court opening created by Antonin Scalia’s death, he announced at a Rose Garden press conference this morning. Garland is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
A native of Chicago, Garland graduated from Harvard Law School in 1977. He served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration, supervising the Timothy McVeigh and Unabomber prosecutions, and was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1997. He’s generally considered a moderate candidate; Republican senators, however, have said that they will not consider any court nominee no matter the individual’s ideology or qualifications. The AP reports that the GOP has already set up a “task force” that will “orchestrate attack ads, petitions and media outreach” against the nominee. (This despite Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch having called Garland “a fine man” and a potential compromise choice just last weekend.)
I have fulfilled my constitutional duty. Now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs. Presidents do not stop working in the final year of their term—neither should a senator. I know that tomorrow the Senate will take a break and leave town on recess for two weeks. My earnest hope is that senators take that time to reflect on the importance of this process to our democracy. Not what’s expedient, not what’s happening at the moment, [but] what does this mean for our institutions? For our common life? The stakes, the consequences, the seriousness of the job we all swore an oath to do. And when they return, I hope that they’ll act in a bipartisan fashion. I hope they’re fair. That’s all.
I hope they are fair. As they did when they confirmed Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit, I ask that they confirm Merrick Garland now to the Supreme Court.
Garland becomes the oldest SCOTUS nominee since Richard Nixon nominated 64-year-old Lewis Powell in 1971.
Research assistance by Lakshmi Varanasi. This post has been updated with additional information.