, WASHINGTON, United States, Mar 16 – President Barack Obama will on Wednesday tap the centrist judge Merrick Garland as his pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by late conservative justice Antonin Scalia, setting the stage for an election-year showdown with Republicans.
According to White House officials, after weeks of deliberation Obama will tap a former prosecutor they say “has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history.”
- Garland's appointment leaves Republicans with a tough task of ignoring someone they have already confirmed once for lower office and who has publicly opposed the judicial activism they claim to resist.
- At the age of 63, Garland also offers them the tantalizing prospect of a candidate that would be expected to serve less time on the bench than some of the younger names floated.
The nomination comes even as Obama girded for a brutal battle with the Senate, where the Republican majority has vowed to ignore his selection.
The Republican party’s leadership has insisted the nomination should be made by Obama’s successor in the White House, who takes office in less than a year.
Filling the vacancy could be one of the most consequential actions of Obama’s presidency, with the potential to tip the balance from majority conservative to liberal.
“Throughout his career, Chief Judge Garland has shown a rare ability to bring people together and has earned the respect of everyone he has worked with,” White House officials said.
“No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court.”