President Obama has recently nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit. He was nominated and confirmed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. Previously, he was the assistant to the U.S. attorney general and later joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In March of this year, President Obama announced his choice of Garland as the next Supreme Court Justice.
Garland is very moderate when it comes to his political standing. His past decisions have been considerate of both sides of the spectrum. One major issue he has commented on is the death penalty. He says that he has “recommended that the government seek the death penalty.” His decisions have been more likely to side with workers claiming employment discrimination and against criminals who said that their rights had been violated.
While Garland is considered a moderate, many Republicans are against the idea of President Obama appointing a Supreme Court Justice so late in his presidency. However, President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, had his nominee, Justice Anthony Kennedy, approved by the Senate during his last year of office. Yet, the Republican Senators do not accept this example because Reagan had nominated two previous judges that didn’t work out, and chose Kennedy during the November before his last year.
The Republicans believe that anyone that Obama nominates will tip the Supreme Court in favor of the Liberals. They plan on denying Garland’s nomination by filibustering during the discussion in the Senate. Caroline Montgomery (’18) says, “I think that Garland is a very qualified choice to be the replacement of the late beloved Justice Scalia. It is not fair how Republicans are trying to make sure that Garland doesn’t become the next justice. It is the president’s job to choose the Supreme Court Justices, regardless of the lateness of their presidential term.”
Many Republicans on the Senate have agreed to meet with Garland to determine his personality and political standing. Some are open to the idea of accepting Garland, while others are completely against it. However, if they don’t accept Garland, and a Democratic president is elected later this year, then the justice nominated may be more Liberal-minded than this one.