President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court Wednesday morning. It is now up to senators to give him a hearing, though Republicans have vowed to block anyone Obama nominates until after the election.
Garland, 63, has been the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for 18 years. He grew up in Chicago, graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 1977, and is married to Lynn Garland. They have two daughters.
“When I’m standing next to the President and he announces my nomination, I actually think it will feel a little bit like an out of body experience,” Garland said in his introduction video.
— SCOTUS Nom (NARA) (@SCOTUSnom) March 16, 2016
During his speech, Obama said Garland is uniquely qualified to serve immediately. Garland, he said, “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.”
Garland is known as a moderate and Tom Goldstein, who runs the SCOTUS blog, said in 2010 that Garland rarely sides with criminal defendants’ trying to appeal their convictions. He was also considered for the other two Supreme Court vacancies Obama filled. For more on Garland’s professional background, read The Washington Posts‘ “Meet Merrick Garland.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan maintains the Senate has the right to block the nomination.
“This is going to have to go to the American people in 2016,” Ryan said. “Everything is at stake in 2016, and we should leave it up to the American people.”