Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. On March 16, 32 days later, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace him. Judge Garland is the Chief Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has been a judge on the DC Circuit since 1997.
Judge Garland is a highly distinguished jurist. He enjoys bipartisan support and affection, on his Court and in the United States Senate. In particular, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) like him very much. Here’s what Senator Hatch said on Friday, March 11: “[He] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.” He also said, once, that there was no question about Judge Garland being confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alas, Senator Hatch said more last Friday.
The president told me several times he’s going to name a moderate … . But I don’t believe him. He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the [liberal Democratic base] wants.
Well, gee, Senator, maybe the president really does pay attention to his duty under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which directs that: “he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court … .” (By the way, in psychology I believe projection describes the approach taken by Senator Hatch and others from his party.)
Stay tuned for more in the coming days, weeks, and months. In the meantime, it looks like at least one elected official in Washington intends to be doing the job we hired him to do, right up until his contract ends at noon on January 20, 2017.