President Obama Nominates Merrick Garland For Supreme Court

Obama praised Garland as a foremost legal mind who will bring "decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence" to the high court.

After weeks of speculation and controversy, President Obama announced Judge Merrick B. Garland is his nominee for the Supreme Court, filling the post vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia. While more centrist than other candidates, Garland is well-liked in Washington and will prove difficult for Republicans to dismiss out of hand.

Obama introduced Garland in the Rose Garden this morning as someone who earned “the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”

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“[He] is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.”

Judge Garland, 63, is currently serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He is widely described as a moderate who is conservative when it comes to criminal’s rights, but more progressive on issues like free speech.

According to Keen News Service, his only notable verdict relating to the LGBT community was in a joint decision rejecting police liability when officers sprayed mace on gay protesters during George W. Bush’s first inaugural parade.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16:  U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden walk out of the Oval Office with U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick B. Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the Rose Garden at the White House March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first Indian-American and Hindu to be nominated to the Supreme Court, Srinivasan, 48, was confirmed to his current position by a Senate vote of 97 to 0 in 2013. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Still, Republicans in Congress have made rumblings that they’ll block any nomination,

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at least until after the election, which the President criticized as “an endless cycle of more tit for tat.”

“I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote,” said Obama. “If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

Other names circulated as possible candidates included Sri Srinivasan, Paul Watford and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.