President Obama plans to nominate Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, according to multiple reports Wednesday morning, making his choice to fill the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other news outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported on Obama’s forthcoming announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference.
Garland, 63, currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a post he’s held since February 2013 after serving on the court since 1997
“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 in an email on Wednesday morning.
In selecting a nominee, Obama said a Supreme Court justice should have “an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law,” should recognize judiciary limits and should understand that justice is about life experience outside of a casebook.
Garland clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr. Working for the Justice Department, he later supervised the Oklahoma City bombing prosecution.
His nomination is sure to face opposition, as Senate Republicans have vowed not to hold confirmation hearings for any nominee, arguing that the next president should be allowed to fill the seat. Even before making the appointment, Obama urged Senate leaders to do their job and act on a nomination.
As a centrist judge who has enjoyed bipartisan popularity, Garland’s appointment poses a challenge to Republicans looking to reject any nomination.
“[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man,” Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said on Friday, according to Newsmax. “He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election.”
In the interview, Hatch said he expected Obama would nominate someone who appeals more to liberal voters. Hatch is one of many Republican senators who have advocated for selecting a replacement after the presidential election, calling the current political climate “toxic.”