Garland deserves fair, bipartisan up-or-down vote

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Republicans have vowed to stall any nomination President Obama puts forth to replace Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, but they'll have a hard time justifying opposition Merrick Garland, who the president was expected to nominate this morning.

There are no qualifications spelled out to be a Supreme Court justice -- not even a law degree -- but one would be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified than Merrick Garland.

He was valedictorian of his Harvard College class and graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. from 1978 to 1979.

After serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Divisition of the U.S. Department of Justice, he supervised to prosecutions of the Oklahoma City and Unibomber.

This wouldn't be his "first rodeo" when it comes to Senate nomination hearings.

He failed to be named to the D.C. Circuit when Republicans objected to adding a judge to that position, but was confirmed after the next election, with backing from Republican and Democratic senators. He became Chief Judge on that circuit on Feb. 12, 2013.

Garland is seen as a judicial moderate, admiring Brennan and Chief Justice John Marshall.

"Everybody, I think, who hopes to become a judge would aspire to be able to write as well as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes," Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1995.

"None are going to be able to attain that. But I'll try at least -- if confirmed -- to be as brief and pithy as he is."

Garland's mother was a director of volunteer services and his father owned an advertising agency in Chicago. Garland was a National Merit Scholar and as one of 119 members of the Presidential Scholars program, met President Nixon in 1970.

Republicans feel they have good reason to oppose any nomination by President Barack Obama, but they have little reason to hope a Supreme Court nominatee submitted by Hillary Clinton -- or Donald Trump -- would serve our nation more effectively than Merrick Garland.

He deserves a fair, bipartisan up-or-down vote.

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