Here we go again with the classic Obama fold…Yet another utter and complete failure kowtowing to the Reprobates.
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland is President Obama’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, NPR has learned.
Citing a source close to the process, NPR’s Nina Totenberg says Obama chose Garland, 63, over two other federal judges who were also seen as contenders for Scalia’s seat.
Obama is slated to make the announcement official at 11 a.m. ET, speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House.
“I’ve made my decision: Today, I will announce the person I believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court,” Obama said in an email Wednesday morning.
Garland, who is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is a former prosecutor who’s viewed as a moderate. He has also cultivated a reputation for openness and collegiality at the D.C. Circuit, a bench that’s sometimes called the second most important in the land.
Before becoming a judge, Garland occupied top posts in the Justice Department, where he oversaw some of the biggest investigations of the Clinton era, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber case, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing.
Garland has been a finalist for two other Supreme Court openings during Obama’s presidency; he joined the appeals court in 1995, after a long Senate delay and a 76-23 vote.
Garland has won praise from senior Republican figures, including Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Chief Justice John Roberts.
The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein determined that “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.” Goldstein “identified only eight such published rulings,” in addition to seven where “he voted to reverse the defendant’s sentence in whole or in part, or to permit the defendant to raise a argument relating to sentencing on remand,” during the 13 years Garland had then spent on the DC Circuit.
To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals, while occasionally casting a heterodox vote. Nevertheless, as Goldstein wrote in 2010 when Garland was under consideration to replace the retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, “to the extent that the President’s goal is to select a nominee who will articulate a broad progressive vision for the law, Judge Garland would be a very unlikely candidate to take up that role.”