WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – President Barack Obama has named Merrick B. Garland his nominee for the Supreme Court.
In a Rose Garden ceremony on Wednesday morning, Mr. Obama will introduce Garland as his third nominee to the high court. The confirmation battle ahead promises to be the most contentious of his time in office.
Immediately following the unexpected death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, speculation began swirling about who the next Supreme Court justice would be.
Here’s what we know about President Obama’s nominee.
Merrick B. Garland – Chief Judge, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Garland sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he’s served since 1997.
In 2013, Garland became the court’s chief judge.
At 63 years old, Garland’s “age means his tenure is limited; it’s not like approving a John Paul Stevens who’ll serve for 35 years,” which Vox notes could work in his favor.
When discussing the possibility of Garland being selected to the court, the AP reported, “…a white 63-year-old with an Ivy-League, East-Coast background, would not add diversity to the court. But with a reputation as a judicial moderate and with broad respect in Washington, Garland could put maximum pressure on some GOP senators to crack from leadership opposition.”
Choosing Garland over Judge Sri Srinivasan could possibly a strategic move to save the younger jurist from a bruising, and possibly losing, nomination fight.
Congressional battle brewing
Republican senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have vowed to block the president’s nominee, saying they will wait until after the presidential election to confirm a nominee while the White House promised to propose a nominee and fill the vacancy.
The selection of Garland is part of a two-pronged White House strategy of forcing conservatives’ hand.
Mr. Obama searched for a well-qualified moderate whom a) he feels comfortable appointing and b) will prove difficult for GOPers to deny confirmation hearings.
The president described Garland as “not only eminently qualified Supreme Court Justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote” in the Senate.
Senate Republican leaders have shown no signs of willingness to confirm — or even meet with — Garland. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) maintains he will not hold a single confirmation hearing before the November 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the White House is ready to launch a highly orchestrated campaign to force the issue, employing media appearances, grassroots efforts and personal appeals to lawmakers.