President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to be the next Supreme Court Justice. Garland would replace Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away recently. Garland is the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia.
Justices Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Chief Justice John Roberts all have served on the D.C. Court of Appeals.
“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.”
Garland, who choked back tears as he spoke in the Rose Garden, said that “Trust that justice will be done in our courts — without prejudice or partisanship — is what in large part distinguishes this country from others.”
The GOP has vocalized their disagreement, saying they will not approve Garland into the position. The Republicans have said that they have no personal objection to Garland, but want the next President to nominate the Justice. They argue that this allows the will of the American people to be heard and the hope is that a Republican will be elected who will in turn nominate a conservative. This is a gamble because there is the possibility that a Democrat could be elected to the White House or Republicans could lose the Senate.
Democrats are already making the Supreme Court into a campaign issue. Democrats are hoping to pressure moderate Republicans in tough re-election fights into supporting a vote.
7 Republican Senators have broken off and are willing to meet with the Justice pick.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has agreed to meet with Garland.
“The White House has asked me to meet with him, and I’ve agreed to do so, I’ve never refused an offer to meet with a nominee to the Supreme Court; that has always been my standard practice. And, so, I have accepted that offer, and it will be scheduled after the recess.” said Collins.
Collins does not believe that Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will change his mind regarding a vote on Garland.
“The decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle not a person,” McConnell said.