President Obama announced this morning in the Rose Garden of the White House that his nominee to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia is Merrick Garland.
Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices.
Now presiding as Chief Judge, Judge Garland has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history.
“After completing this exhaustive process, I’ve made my decision,” said Obama. “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 from both sides of the aisle. He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.
“Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.”
In a White House press conference shortly after the announcement hosted by Neil Eggleston, Counsel to the President, Brian Deese, Senior Advisor to the President and Eric Schultz, Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Deese said President Obama’s decision was a cumulation of a month-long process in which het and a selection committee spoke with every member of the Senate and hundreds of leaders in high positions, including civil rights leaders, CEOs, union leaders and tribal leaders.
According to Deese, the President ‘was committed to extensive outreach and engagement,” in an effort to cast a wide net. “There is no one better qualified,” he said.
Eggleston said there was a three-point system the President applied in selecting a nominee.
“First [Obama] stated he believed that the justice should possess an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials and an unquestionable mastery of the law. Second, the judge should recognize the limits of the judicial role and that their job is to interpret the law, not to make the law, and third, a judge should have a deep understanding of how the law affects people’s lives every day in rapidly changing times. It is about the type of life experience earned outside of the classroom and in the courtroom that helps to shape his keen sense.
“These three principles were the President’s North Star as he navigated this very important decision.”
After Obama’s remarks, Judge Garland said, “Thank you, Mr. President. This is the greatest honor of my life -- other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago. It’s also the greatest gift I’ve ever received except -- and there’s another caveat -- the birth of our daughters, Jessie and Becky.
“As my parents taught me by both words and deeds, a life of public service is as much a gift to the person who serves as it is to those he is serving. And for me, there could be no higher public service than serving as a member of the United States Supreme Court.”
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