President Obama made the announcement today for his pick for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy comes after the death of Antonin Scalia and has been a source of Republican concern in an election year. Despite the calls for Obama to appoint a woman or another minority to the high court, he chose admired jurist Merrick Garland, 63, who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
“I have 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, evenhandedness and excellence. These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle,” Obama said.
Despite the accolades rendered of behalf of Garland, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doubled down on his promise not to have Senate hearings on the nomination
“Today the president has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests,” stated Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley
Senate Republicans have even stated they will not even go forward with the normal FBI background check on the nominee in their bid to thwart the president’s decision. The battle over Obama naming a replacement started literally minutes after Scalia’s death. The Republican National Committee issued a statement calling the president’s actions “unlawful” and pledged it will block any hearing attempt for Garland.
Garland is considered a political moderate and received Republican support when he was nominated to the U.S. Court of appeals noting his background as a prosecutor and his work on the trial and conviction of Oklahoma City terrorist Timothy McVeigh. According to White House sources, Garland was on the shortlist for the Supreme Court in 2009. In that year, Obama selected the country’s first Latino Supreme Court jurist, Sonia Sotomayor.