SCOTUS Nominee Judge Merrick Garland Enjoys Bipartisan Support
Yesterday, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Judge Garland has impressive legal credentials and deserves full consideration from the Senate—including a hearing and a full Senate vote.
Judge Garland has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. He has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—sometimes called the “little Supreme Court”—for almost 20 years, the past three as its Chief Judge. Before he was appointed to the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland dedicated his career to public service, working as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and then Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. During this time, he coordinated the government’s response to the Oklahoma City bombing, leading the investigation and prosecution of Timothy McVeigh.
With credentials like this, it is not hard to see why Judge Garland’s nomination enjoys broad support from people on all ends of the political spectrum. When introducing Judge Garland, President Obama explained, “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 on both sides of the aisle.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid released a statement praising Judge Garland as “a brilliant man who will make a fine Supreme Court justice.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi applauded the President’s choice of Judge Garland, saying, “President Obama has chosen a respected jurist who embodies wisdom, judgement, and dedication to justice for all Americans. Judge Garland has dedicated his life to upholding the Constitution.”
President Obama and Democratic leaders are not alone in praising Judge Garland’s qualifications and legal expertise. Soon after the President’s announcement, Ken Starr, U.S. Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush, praised Judge Garland, calling him “a brilliant jurist who believes in and upholds the rule of law undergirding our constitutional republic….He is superbly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.” When asked about his reaction to the nomination of Judge Garland, Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush said, “I was pleased for the country. I felt that this was by any standard a really outstanding pick.” Former White House Counsel under President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales, wrote that the Senate should give Judge Garland both a hearing and a vote, commenting that “The president has nominated someone who is capable of doing the job by virtue of intellect, education and experience.”
President Obama has done his job by nominating an impressive and widely respected federal judge with broad bipartisan support to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Now it is time for the Senate to do their job and give Judge Garland the hearing and vote he deserves.