In choosing Merrick Garland as his nominee, President Barack Obama said he was looking for someone with impeccable credentials. He chose someone who is respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
Plus there’s this credential: For the past 20 years, while sitting on the D.C. Appeals Court bench, Garland has tutored second, third and fourth grade students in Northeast D.C. in reading and math. If you don’t like this guy, you hate puppies and kittens.
As part of what can be seen as a candidate chosen to appeal to the Republican majority in the Senate, Obama chose the oldest Supreme Court nominee since President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis Powell in 1971. Garland is 63. Powell was 64 and served for 15 years. By contrast, Chief Justice John Roberts is 61 and was appointed when he was 50. Sonia Sotomayor is 61 and Elena Kagan is 55.
Garland has more experience on the federal judiciary than any previous nominee in Supreme Court history.
In 1995, Garland oversaw the federal investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing. He was known for being meticulous. Rather than accept evidence from witnesses, he made sure each piece of evidence was subpoenaed to ensure anyone convicted would not get off on a technicality.
Garland left a lucrative job at a law firm to become a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. under the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
Just this week, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said, Obama “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.”
Obviously, Hatch didn’t think the president would take his advice.
There’s little in his record to judge how he’d vote in cases of importance to the LGBT community.