Poor Judge Merrick Garland. He’s been on the short list for the U.S. Supreme Court for years. In fact, many believed he had a pretty good chance of replacing Justice Paul Stevens back in 2010, but the President opted for Justice Elena Kagan instead.
There is no question that Garland is immensely qualified by any definition of that word. He attended Harvard Law School, and now serves as the Chief Judge for arguably the second most influential court in the land, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He was nominated to the D.C. circuit back in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and is considered a judicial moderate. He’s also respected and liked by his colleagues. In any other year, he might be overwhelmingly confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In fact, some Senate Republicans might even be overjoyed that Obama picked a moderate. This is not any year and there is a very good chance Judge Merrick Garland becomes a historical footnote.
Senate Republicans are ready for a huge fight, one where they do not back down. Just hours after Justice Scalia died in his sleep, the Republican effort to thwart any Obama nomination began in full force. “This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the polls,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “I agree with the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that we not have hearings. In short, there will not be action taken.”
And just minutes after Obama’s announcement, Sen. McConnell again blasted President Obama’s decision to make a nomination. “The decision that the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principal not a person,” McConnell said. He re-iterated that there is nothing in the Constitution that the Senate must vote on President Obama’s pick......
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