President Obama Chooses Merrick Garland for Supreme Court: Top 5 Things to Know About Him

Judge Garland

President Barack Obama has chosen Merrick B. Garland as his nominee for the Supreme Court justice post. It also set off the trigger for a political battle with the Republicans who have vowed not to accept a candidate from Obama until a new President assumes office. The Republicans are controlling the senate.

Announcing Garland’s nomination, Obama hailed him as an exceptional judge who will add glory to the Supreme Court justice.  The death of Justice Antonin Scalia left a vacancy in the Supreme Court.

In his brief remarks at the Rose Garden at the White House, Judge Garland said, “fidelity to the Constitution and the law have been the cornerstone of my professional life.”

Hinting the Republican boycott, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said there will be no change in the party’s position of withholding the consideration of any nominee proposed by Obama. McConnell then personally called up Garland and told him that the Senate would not be acting on his nomination, reports New York Times.

Currently, Garland is serving as the chief judge on the DC Circuit and has been in the job for nearly 20 years. It is the most prominent circuit court in the US, with wider jurisdiction over federal regulators including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Though described as brilliant, Judge Garland at 63, is a bit older for a Supreme Court nomination. If confirmed, he will be two years older than Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Judge Garland was shot to fame with his role in the Oklahoma City bombing case of 1995. Starting with his personal visit to the bombing site, coordinating the response from the Justice Department, pursuing the cases against the bombers and their prosecution, he ultimately became a hero.

Prior to becoming a judge, Garland was a prosecutor and has been the Assistant US attorney.  He also served in Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice, reports Vox News.

At DC circuit, Garland’s legacy is that of a mixed one with notable distance from hot-button issues like abortion or LGBTQ rights. However, Garland earned the fury of Republicans in the DC v. Heller handgun case. The Supreme Court had struck down DC’s handgun ban by upholding the individual right to bear arms.  However, Garland dissented and insisted on a rehearing of the case and argued that the handgun ban was constitutional. He also endorsed the Clinton administration’s decision to allow the federal government to store records of gun-buyers.

In a nutshell, Justice Garland can be described in these points.

  • Garland, 63, is an eminent jurist
  • Serving as chief judge on the DC Circuit for 20 years
  • Oklahoma City bombing case of 1995 made him a hero
  • Republicans will oppose his confirmation
  • Garland’s stand on gun control earned him the wrath of the Republicans
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