Merrick Garland Nominated for SCOTUS Vacancy by Pres. Obama

Senate GOP Refuses to Even Meet Him

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Courtesy of Tribune News Service.

(Still) President Obama introduces Judge Merrick Garland as his SCOTUS nomination.

Z Goodman, Staff Reporter

The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has sparked the conversation about who the new supreme court justice will be. Some feel that current President Obama should nominate the next justice, and some people feel otherwise. The Senate GOP had previously announced that they will not meet with any of President Obama’s nominees. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell commented on the issue by saying “I don’t know how many times we need to keep saying this: The Judiciary Committee has unanimously recommended to me that there be no hearing. I’ve said repeatedly and I’m now confident that my conference agrees that this decision ought to be made by the next president, whoever is elected.” (CNN).

Yet on March 16 at 11 in the morning President Obama announced his nominee, Merrick Garland, saying, “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. To suggest that someone who has served his country with honor and dignity, with a distinguished track record of delivering justice for the American people might be treated, as one Republican leader stated, as a political pinata. That can’t be right,”(CNN).

Merrick Garland, 63  is a graduate of Harvard law school and a nineteen year veteran of the DC circuit which is named the second most powerful court in the nation. Merrick Garland is a judge in the appeals court. Garland is the oldest person to be nominated Supreme Court justice besides Lewis Powell who was nominated in 1971 by President Nixon. Garland is seen as ‘fairly conservative’ on criminal justice issues (Think Progress), while leaning ‘progressive’ or even ‘liberal’ on others.

Many people are saying that President Obama’s nominee is a way to ‘box in’ the Senate GOP who had previously said that they will not be going to any hearings. With all of the pressure from the public and the possible shift in the way the court will lean (conservative or liberal). They are in a tricky position.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stayed with his initial opinion and said “The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filing of this vacancy,”(Slate).  Which ‘people’ McConnell is referring to is unclear; President Obama was already elected by a majority of American voters.

Emily Martinez a 10th grader at Indian River High School says, “I believe that the picking of the next supreme court justice should be fair and constitutional.” Despite all of the disputes over who should pick the next justice it is evident that this next justice could drastically change the majority vote in the supreme court.