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.”
“[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.
Still, Republicans in Congress have made rumblings that they’ll block any nomination,
“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.