Hey, America, we have a new Supreme Court nominee!
On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
So who is this Merrick Garland fellow, anyway? What makes him tick? Read on for TheWrap’s rundown on our next possible Supreme Court justice.
1. He has been through this before. Sort of. Twice.
While this is the first time that Garland, 63, has officially been nominated for the high court, Obama considered him for the position of Supreme Court justice twice before, in 2009 and 2010. Instead, those slots went to Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Could the third time be the charm?
2. He is pretty even-keeled.
SCOTUSblog noted, “Judge Garland’s record demonstrates that he is essentially the model, neutral judge. He is acknowledged by all to be brilliant. His opinions avoid unnecessary, sweeping pronouncements.” And Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch once said Garland would be “a consensus nominee” when he was previously considered for a nomination. But don’t worry, Republicans, there’s still something for you to complain about! In 2008, he was part of a panel that came down in favor of Guantanamo Bay detainee Huzaifa Parhat, ruling that it was wrong for a U.S. tribunal to find that Parhat was an “enemy combatant.”
3. He has been involved in some heavy-duty cases.
Prior to putting on the robe, Garland worked as a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. While there, he was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing prosecution, the prosecution of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and the investigations into the Atlanta Olympics bombings. So yeah, he’s seen some things.
4. He is used to drawn-out nomination processes.
Garland was nominated for his current position in 1995 and received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but a confirmation vote was not scheduled at that time. Senate Republicans weren’t worried about his qualifications but instead questioned whether it was necessary to fill the seat at all. Bill Clinton nominated him again in 1997, which resulted in a 76-23 confirmation vote in his favor.
5. Sorry, ladies — he’s taken.
A Chicago-area native, Garland has been married to Lynn Garland, the granddaughter of a former New York Supreme Justice, since 1987. The couple has two daughters — Rebecca and Jessica, both Yale graduates.