Today in the Rose Garden President Barack Obama nominated highly regarded judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month on the Supreme Court. It’s not hard to see why Obama might again find the 63-year-old Garland a good choice, he has a reputation as a moderate, which could please Republicans, and a resume that makes him look like a lot of the high court’s current members.
The Senate has informed President Obama that they have no intention of even hearing about a replacement for Justice Scalia until the next president is chosen. Meanwhile, the Democrats feel that if the GOP members of the Senate don’t even give the president’s nominee there will be heat on some of the vulnerable Republicans fighting re-election battles.
As for Garland he’s now chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known in legal circles as the “second highest court in the land” in part because of the frequency with which its judges ascend to the Supreme Court just a few blocks away.
His background made him popular even with Republicans when he was nominated to the D.C. Circuit by President Bill Clinton in 1995, but the full Senate didn’t initially act on his nomination. The issue wasn’t Garland, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said at the time, but whether the court needed another judge at all.
Grassley is now the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would oversee any hearings on a nominee. Meanwhile, the Republican controlled Senate at the same time as President Obama was introducing Garland, Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority Leader made it clear that this nomination will be dead on arrival when the nomination reaches the body.
Refusing to even meet with a #SCOTUS nominee has no basis in the Constitution. #DoYourJob pic.twitter.com/5xqIrZVLqj
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 14, 2016
Meet Merrick Garland, Your #SCOTUS Nominee: https://t.co/Q55cTYan4x (by @Kathryn1 re: the #SCOTUSnominee) pic.twitter.com/MppaZsYlLd
— Above the Law (@atlblog) March 16, 2016
A surprise pick for the president. The safest possible pick. — @JanCBS on #SCOTUS nominee https://t.co/5dwoUeAfSz pic.twitter.com/ROtomfK37Y
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 16, 2016