POTUS and SCOTUS! President Barack Obama has nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland as the 113th Supreme Court justice, he announced during a live press conference at the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, March 16.
"Of the many powers and responsibilities [expected of the presidency]... few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice," Obama told reporters. "This is not a responsibility that I take lightly... That's why over the past several weeks I've done my best to set up a rigorous and comprehensive process."
Throughout his presser, Obama praised Garland, 63, as "one of America's sharpest legal minds," and as a man of "decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence."
He added in the final moments of his announcement: "To find someone not only everyone who respects, but likes? That is rare... People respect the way he treats others."
Judge Garland is a former prosecutor who currently serves as the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. He would potentially fill the vacant seat left open by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away on February 13.
Garland, a centrist, has an edge with both Democrats and Republicans ahead of Senate consideration. He was nominated to the appellate court in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton. At the time of his nomination, Garland nabbed Senate confirmation with an astounding vote of 76 to 23.
The New York Times and multiple outlets first reported the news of Garland's nomination prior to the formal announcement on Wednesday. Prior to his press conference, President Obama released a statement about who he had hand-picked. "I’m confident you’ll share my conviction that this American is not only eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote," Obama said.
During his presser, Obama reiterated what's expected of Supreme Court justices.
"The men and women to sit on the Supreme Court are the final arbiters of American law," he said. "They're charged with the essential task of applying principles to paper."
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