WASHINGTON D.C. — President Barack Obama’s decision to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court Wednesday morning means that at long last, the oft-short-listed candidate finally gets his shot.
Garland is the chief judge for the Washington, D.C. appeals court, appointed by President Bill Clinton. A former clerk for Justice William Brennan, he’s served in private practice and at the Justice Department.
A Chicago native, Garland, 63, is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School. He was confirmed by a 76-23 vote after being nominated by Clinton in 1997. Obama considered him for the seats that ultimately went to Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Garland’s supporters argue he is the nominee that the senators couldn’t refuse even in a contentious environment.
“He’s the establishment of the establishment,” said one supporter, adding that as a government lawyer he supervised the investigations in the Unabomber case and the Oklahoma City bombing.
However, even before his name was announced, Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network cautioned in the National Review that he should not be labeled as “moderate” arguing in one instance that he has a “very liberal view” of gun rights.