Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. SUPREME COURT - President Obama's Nomination

"Defying Congressional GOP, Obama chooses D.C. judge for Supreme Court" PBS NewsHour 3/16/2016

President Obama has lived up to his Constitutional obligation, now it is time for the U.S. Senate to live up to theirs.  This does not mean they need to approve, but they must consider.


SUMMARY:  The battle for the late Antonin Scalia’s spot on the Supreme Court began Wednesday, as President Obama officially announced his nomination; Merrick B. Garland, chief judge of the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Obama was undeterred by Congressional Republican vows to ignore any Supreme Court nomination hearings until a new President has been elected.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  The battle was officially joined today over the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.  The President formally opened the fray, nominating the head of the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  Today, I am nominating chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.

GWEN IFILL:  The announcement was greeted with applause in the Rose Garden as the President hailed his nominee.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  Judge Garland has earned a track record of building consensus as a thoughtful, fair-minded judge who follows the law.  He’s shown a rare ability to bring together odd couples, assemble unlikely coalitions, persuade colleagues with wide-ranging judicial philosophies to sign onto his opinions.

GWEN IFILL:  That was calculated to make the case that Senate Republicans should at least give Garland a chance.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing, let alone an up-or-down vote, to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court, when two-thirds of Americans believe otherwise, that would be unprecedented.

JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND, Supreme Court Nominee:  This is the greatest honor of my life.

GWEN IFILL:  The judge choked back tears as he thanked the President, and he seemed to make his own appeal.

JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND:  Fidelity to the Constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life, and it’s the hallmark of the kind of judge I have tried to be for the past 18 years.  If the Senate sees fit to confirm me to the position for which I have been nominated today, I promise to continue on that course.

GWEN IFILL:  Garland is 63.  He left private practice for the Justice Department in 1993, and oversaw its response to the Oklahoma City bombing.  President Clinton then nominated him to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  He was confirmed in 1997.

At the time, he drew praise from the likes of Republican Orrin Hatch, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), Utah:  He belongs on the court.  And I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration.  In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.

GWEN IFILL:  That was then.  This is now.

Now Garland is being nominated to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month.  Republicans fear that confirming him to the high court would create a liberal majority.

So, within minutes of the president’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the Senate floor to double down on his (unconstitutional IMHO) pledge to deny the President as much as a hearing on his nominee.

Full 25:51 announcement:

"Who is Merrick Garland?  Legal analysts review his record — and his chance" PBS NewsHour 3/16/2016


SUMMARY:  Following President Obama’s nomination of chief D.C. Circuit appeals judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Judy Woodruff turns to Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal and former Solicitor General Seth Waxman for more on the unique situation.  Also, Gwen Ifill talks to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) for some insight into how Congress will respond.

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