President Obama nominates Merrick Garland as Supreme Court justice
With the advances of the LGBT cause in previous years hanging in a balance, President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland for the post of Supreme Court justice.
President Obama’s nomination comes a month after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and the recent declaration by Republican senators that they would prefer to let the next president be the one to choose the next Supreme Court justice.
Merrick Garland: the moderate
President Obama has hedged his bets by naming Garland, a Federal Appeals Court judge who has drawn bipartisan support from both parties, to fill the vacant seat left by Justice Scalia’s death.
“It is both my constitutional duty to nominate a Justice and one of the most important decisions that I– or any president– will make,” President Obama said, describing Garland as “a serious man and an exemplary judge.”
The president added that in discussions on who to nominate, “The one name that has come up repeatedly– from Republicans and Democrats alike– is Merrick Garland.”
Garland, 63, is the chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He made a name for himself at the Justice Department overseeing investigations of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber case, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing during the Clinton presidency.
More importantly, Garland’s selection is President Obama’s move to ensure his nominee will not alienate Republicans, given that Garland has won praise from Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Chief Justice John Roberts.
LGBT support for Merrick Garland
Knowing the importance of having President Obama select the next Supreme Court Justice instead of letting a possible Republican president do it next year, LGBT groups have thrown in their support.
Garland’s centrist views is a stark contrast to the conservative ideologies of the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia.
“Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing. There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate, and the Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to give him swift and fair consideration,” said the Human Rights Campaign in a statement.
“”We urge the Senate to do its job and move swiftly to confirm his nomination. With so many issues of critical importance pending before the Court, including those affecting millions of women and immigrants, filling the vacancy left by former Justice Scalia should be an urgent priority, and any delay would be unconscionable,” said Kate Kendell, executive director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The National LGBTQ Task Force said, ““Delaying to fill the Supreme Court vacancy has serious implications for the lives of millions of people for generations to come. Too much is at stake including the future of voting rights, racial justice, economic justice, immigration reform, reproductive rights, and full equality for LGBTQ people. We urge the Senate leadership not to play politics with our judicial system and move the hearing and voting process forward swiftly.”
Lastly, LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal has launched a petition calling on citizens to write their US senators to “do their job.”
“We call upon members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to fulfill their constitutional duty and ensure Judge Garland is given a complete and timely review. We encourage them to ask comprehensive and probing questions to evaluate Judge Garland’s ability to be a fair and impartial member of our highest court rather than rejecting his nomination out-of-hand in partisan fashion, without even a hearing,” said Jon W. Davidson, Lambda Legal’s national legal director on Merrick Garland’s nomination.