White House to send Garland's questionnaire to Senate

AP News
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Posted: May 09, 2016 7:38 PM
White House to send Garland's questionnaire to Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland will submit a questionnaire detailing his credentials and experience to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, taking another step in the White House's push to break the Senate blockade on his nomination.

White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine said Garland's questionnaire would present "an exhaustive picture" of Garland's service on the bench and "impeccable credentials."

The questionnaire is a standard early step in the vetting of any judicial nominee. The lengthy survey typically is drafted by the committee, completed by the nominee, and then reviewed and made public by the committee in advance of committee hearings.

But in Garland's atypical nomination, the questionnaire has become another tool in the White House pressure campaign.

Although Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has said he won't consider Garland's nomination, the White house has charged ahead as if preparing for a hearing. Grassley didn't send Garland the questionnaire, but the White House had him fill one out anyway.

Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit has been meeting privately with senators on so-called courtesy visits and conducted some prep sessions with the White House.

As he sends up his questionnaire Tuesday, he's slated to meet Tuesday with Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, the White House said.

Grassley, who argues that the next president should fill the vacancy on the court, will post the questionnaire on the committee's website, "just as the questionnaires for all nominees have been, including other nominees the White House knows aren't moving forward because they were submitted without the support of their home state senators," Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said.

Levine did not say when the document would be posted.

The questionnaire set to be sent to the committee leaders Tuesday will likely include details on his work experience, his biographical background, his memberships and associations, his most significant cases, pro bono work and financial information.

"We expect that upon receiving the questionnaire, Senate Judiciary Committee members will do their jobs by reviewing the information, scheduling a hearing so that the American people can hear directly from Chief Judge Garland as he answers questions under oath, and giving him a fair up or down vote," Hoffine said.

Garland plans to continue his meetings with lawmakers this week. Garland is slated to meet with Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tom Carper, D-Del., on Wednesday and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Thursday, the White House said.