President Barry Hussein Obama nominates some saltine man to the Supreme Court.. SMDH..

stringer bell
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edited March 2016 in The Social Lounge
Obama to Nominate Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Merrick B. Garland as the nation’s 113th justice, according to top Senate Democratic officials, choosing a centrist appeals court judge widely respected even by Republicans in hopes his choice will be considered by the Senate.

In deciding on Judge Garland, Mr. Obama picked a man who persevered through a lengthy political battle in the mid-1990s that delayed his own confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by more than a year. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, argued at the time that the vacancy should not be filled.

Twenty years later, Mr. Grassley is again standing in the way of Judge Garland’s appointment, this time arguing as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the next president should be the one to pick the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly in February.

Judge Garland is often described as brilliant and, at 63, is somewhat aged for a Supreme Court nominee. He is two years older than Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who has been with the court for more than 10 years. The two served together on the appeals court and are said to be friends.

The Oklahoma City bombing case in 1995 helped shape Judge Garland’s professional life. He coordinated the Justice Department’s response, starting the case against the bombers and eventually supervising their prosecution.

Judge Garland insisted on being sent to the scene even as bodies were being pulled out of the wreckage, said Jamie S. Gorelick, then the deputy attorney general.

“At the time, he said to me the equivalent of ‘Send me in, coach,’” Ms. Gorelick said. “He worked around the clock, and he was flawless.”

Because of his position, disposition and bipartisan popularity, Judge Garland has been on Mr. Obama’s shortlist of potential nominees for years. In 2010, when Mr. Obama interviewed him for the slot that he instead gave to Justice Elena Kagan, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said publicly that he had urged Mr. Obama to nominate Judge Garland as “a consensus nominee” who would win Senate confirmation.

“I know Merrick Garland very well,” Mr. Hatch said at the time. “He would be very well supported by all sides.”

The president will present his nominee during a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House at 11 a.m., officials said.

“As president, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make,” Mr. Obama said in an email to supporters early Wednesday morning. “In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee.”

In the email, Mr. Obama said he considered three principles in making his choice: whether the person possessed “an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials and an unquestionable mastery of law”; whether the nominee recognized “the limits of the judiciary’s role”; and whether his choice understood that “justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.”

Mr. Obama said that he was “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.”

The White House has created a new Twitter handle, he said — @SCOTUSnom — and he urged people to follow it for “all the facts and up-to-date information.”

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Obama said that Republicans must “decide whether they want to follow the Constitution and abide by the rules of fair play that ultimately undergird our democracy and that ensure that the Supreme Court does not just become one more extension of our polarized politics.”

Republican senators have urged the president to hold off on a nomination, saying the next president should make the pick after voters express their preference in the presidential election. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has repeatedly said he would oppose any nomination until next year.

“President Obama is getting dangerously close to narrowing down the field of potential candidates for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Mr. McConnell warned his supporters in a fund-raising appeal last month.

The outcome of the Washington clash could determine whether Mr. Obama gets to set the direction of American jurisprudence for decades. After the death last month of Mr. Scalia, a leading conservative, the court is evenly divided, with four liberal justices and four conservatives. A new justice appointed by Mr. Obama could be the deciding vote in several close cases.