White House on the selection of Merrick B. Garland for SCOTUS: “No one else is better suited for the job.”
From the White House Rose Garden today President Barack Obama announced Merrick B. Garland, a federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C. as his pick for the Supreme Court. It took Obama a little over a month to decide who would fill the Associate Justice seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama was expected to choose a minority to shift the balance of power in the high court, but instead nominated a moderate candidate who is more likely to receive Senate approval, giving the GOP less fuel to claim he is playing partisan politics.
“I’ve selected a nominee who 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. These qualities, and his long commitment to public service, have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle. He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.”
Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, previously announced plans to obstruct any Obama recommended replacement. They said they would not grant the nominee a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I have fulfilled my constitutional duty now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs,” Obama said. “Presidents do not stop working in the final year of their term, neither should a senator.”
Republicans had argued a sitting president should not select the replacement of a justice during an election year–although there were two precedents already on record. They were willing to keep the seat vacant for eleven months to leave the decision making to the next president.
The nomination has been sent to the senate for confirmation, but cooperation is no where in site.
Since today’s announcement the right-wing smear campaign has already begun, starting with the NRA tweeting that Obama’s SCOTUS choice is “bad on guns.”
I addition, House Speaker Paul Ryan released a video in response to SCOTUS nominee stating, “The president has every right to nominate who he wants but he senate has a co-equal right not to accept that nominee. This is going to have to go the American people in 2016.”
A fellow Chicagoan, Merrick assured the country he will remain a-political in administering the law.
“Trust that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship is what, in a large part, distinguishes this country from others. People must be confident that a judge’s decisions are determined by the law, and only the law. For a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the Constitution and to the statutes passed by the Congress. He or she must put aside his personal views or preferences, and follow the law — not make it.”
The 63-year-old Harvard Law summa cum laude graduate, husband of nearly 30 years and father of two, Garland is a dedicated public servant with a wide range of practice. Notably Merrick B. Garland has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history according to White House officials. He has overseen high profile cases affected the people of DC in a New York gang infestation case, the people of Atlanta in the Olympic bombing case and Oklahoma City in the bombing of the federal building.
A statement from the White House affirms Garland’s copious qualifications and centrist appeal: “Chief Judge Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 76-23, with majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. He has served for 19 years on that court – often considered the most important appellate court in the nation. For over 3 years, he has been the Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, continuing to distinguish himself as one of the most impressive judges in the country. He has cultivated a reputation as a brilliant, meticulous judge with a knack for building consensus, playing it straight, and deciding every case based on what the law requires. As he has said, ‘The role of the court is to apply the law to the facts of the case before it—not to legislate, not to arrogate to itself the executive power, not to hand down advisory opinions on the issues of the day.'”
“I said I would take this process seriously — and I did. I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge, Merrick Garland,” offered Obama.