President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. He made the nomination despite promises by Republican leadership to delay the confirmation process until after the 2016 election.
Earlier Wednesday, Obama announced that he had selected Garland to fill the vacancy left by the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution invests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice,” Obama said at the White House Rose Garden. “The men and women who sit on the Supreme Court are the final arbiters of American law.”
“This is not a responsibility I take lightly.”
Obama was looking for someone who could persuade the Republicans to drop their vows to block any nomination by the lame duck president. Garland, 63, has a moderate record, was a federal prosecutor who oversaw the Oklahoma City bombing case and has a history of drawing Republican support.
“Over my seven years as president, in all my conversations with senator of both parties, … the one name that has come up repeatedly, from Republicans and Democrats alike, is Merrick Garland,” Obama said. “To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing, let alone an up or down vote, to join an institution as important as the Supreme Court, … that would be unprecedented.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already re-stated to the media that Obama’s nomination does not change his intention to wait until after the 2016 election to confirm a new justice. He told CNBC:
Obama did it “not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for the purpose of the election,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Do you think Mitch McConnell will actually stick to his guns? Or will Republican leadership cave under the political pressure of an election year, like they usually do?