WASHINGTON (TIP): Much to the chagrin of the Republicans who have vowed to block any replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia until a new president takes over, President Barack Obama, on Wednesday, March 16, nominated Judge Merrick Garland, who is respected across political lines.
CNN comments that GOP leaders, caught in the undertow of an election in which the conservative grass-roots are already in revolt, immediately renewed their refusal to consider Garland, 63, saying their reservations were not personal but motivated by a desire for the American people to weigh in on Scalia’s replacement. The showdown is even more fraught than most Supreme Court fights, since Obama’s choice could tilt the ideological balance of the court away from conservatives — possibly for years.
In a speech in the evocative ceremonial surroundings of the White House Rose Garden, Obama praised Garland as “one of America’s sharpest legal minds,” making a case that he was so eminently qualified for the job in terms of legal learning, experience and temperament that any attempt to ignore his appointment could only be the result of base political motivations.
“I have selected a nominee who 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, evenhandedness and excellence,” Obama said. These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”
Senate Republicans do not plan to vet or have hearings on Garland, let alone a vote on his nomination. Obama and Democrats argue that with 10 months left in his term, there is plenty of time for the Senate to take up and confirm a new justice. The gravity of Obama’s announcement on Wednesday was part of an attempt to pressure Republicans, especially senators with an eye on their own legacies or those who face tough re-election fights, to peel away from their leadership.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have both expressed little leeway in their determination to forgo hearings for Obama’s nominee.
“The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration,” McConnell said Wednesday. “The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”
Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has been on short lists before. An appointee of President Bill Clinton, Garland is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School. As a Justice Department lawyer, he supervised investigations in the Unabomber case as well as the Oklahoma City bombing.
His voice cracking with emotion, Garland called Obama’s decision to nominate him “the greatest honor of my life.”
“For me, there could be no higher public service than serving as a member of the Supreme Court,” Garland said.
Obama’s announcement amplifies the ongoing political battle over the precedent and propriety of considering a Supreme Court nomination amid a heated presidential election.
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New York based eminent attorney Ravi Batra commented on the nomination to The Indian Panorama. “President Obama honored his Oath to support & defend the Constitution by nominating a legal luminary – Merrick Brian Garland to J. Scalia’s seat. The Senate must give the nominee a fair hearing, as part of its Advice& Consent Clause obligation.
Majority Leader McConnell’s announced intention to ignore the nomination is a violation of his Oath, and an impeachable offense, and subjects Majority Leader to legal liability. It is a shame that this is occurring when the seat being filled was graced by the Prince of the Law, Originalist and strict constructionist, J. Scalia.
While I would have loved to have Sri nominated, to pay down America’s debt of honor to India from Boston Tea Party in 1773 going forward, still CJ Garland, with a longer life, actually has a longer and more documented history of dedicated public service and is an honor to our Republic that he has been so nominated.”