Earlier today, President Obama officially nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here are three things you need to know:
President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court
The nomination Wednesday is sure to set up a protracted political fight on Capitol Hill, as Republicans have vowed to block any candidate picked by Obama in his final year in office.
In announcing the selection, Obama said he followed “a rigorous and comprehensive process” and praised Garland as “a serious man and an exemplary judge.” Obama also urged Senate Republicans to take up the nomination. Read more about the selection here.
Meet Merrick Garland
The 63-year-old man nominated on Wednesday has spent nearly two decades on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, the last three as the court’s top judge.
A native of suburban Chicago, Garland had worked in a prestigious law firm before going to the Justice Department, where he oversaw the prosecution of the men who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Garland spoke about his family on Wednesday in the Rose Garden, which included a note about how one of his daughters was “hiking in the mountains, out of cell service range,” when Obama called to tell him he would be the nominee. Read more about Garland’s life story here.
Republicans refuse to budge following Garland nomination to Supreme Court
Before Wednesday, Republican Senators had said they were agreed in their opposition to Obama’s nominee, whoever that wound up being. On Wednesday, after Garland was named, this opposition did not change.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave a speech to reiterate this stance, insisting that the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat should only be filled by the person elected in November. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) weighed in and said he fully supported this stance. While some Senate Republicans spoke with Garland or said they would meet with him, they said this would not change their stance.
“It isn’t about the person, it’s about the process, it’s about the principle,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee charged with considering Garland’s nomination, who said he would speak to Garland. :I think we’ve laid down a principle that’s pretty sound…it should go over to a new president.”
Read more about this stance here.
The White House also released a video introducing Garland to the public: