President Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia following Scalia’s passing on Feb. 13.
Obama announced Garland as his nominee at a press conference on March 16 after interviewing two other potential nominees, Judge Sri Srinivasan from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Paul Watford from the 9th Circuit.
Garland is a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, one of the most powerful courts in the country. He is also 63 years old, making him the second oldest nominee since President Nixon named Justice Lewis Powell in 1971.
Nominating Garland, a relatively moderate pick, is seen as a compromise to Senate Republicans who have vowed to oppose whomever Obama nominates.
In the email sent out prior to the announcement, as reported by Politico, Obama stated that he sought three things from the nominee:
First, they should possess “an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law.”
Second, they “should recognize the limits of the judiciary’s role.”
Third, they should have “a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.”
Nonetheless, according to Politico, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network has already put out $2 million worth of ads opposing the nomination, bringing their total to $4 million since Scalia’s death.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-SC) and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee Mike Lee have said that they plan to block any nomination by the president, setting in motion a high stakes battle for the Supreme Court Justice in an important election year.
Lee reconfirmed Wendesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee is going to deny a confirmation hearing to any nomination.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump echoed calls for blocking a Senate vote, saying on CNN’s “New Day,” and reported by Politico, that he “wasn’t in favor of going forward.”
Trump’s position would stand, he said, even if Obama had nominated his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Maryanne Trump Barry was nominated under President Bill Clinton.
“He is the right man for the job.
He deserves to be confirmed.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2016