Capitol Hill Buzz: Judge Merrick Garland is back on the Hill

AP News
Posted: Sep 14, 2016 1:54 PM
Capitol Hill Buzz: Judge Merrick Garland is back on the Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Back on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court talked baseball, books and a revised workload.

There was less excitement — and fewer cameras — surrounding Judge Merrick Garland's visit than when he met two Democratic leaders and dozens of other senators last spring, shortly after Obama's nomination. That's because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has held firmly to his decision to block Garland's nomination and allow the next president to choose a nominee.

Still, Democratic leaders are inviting Garland to Capitol Hill to keep attention on the languishing nomination, even if there isn't much new to say.

"Meeting with Judge Garland is so difficult," Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters after Garland left his office. He said they discussed books they are reading and Garland's administrative work in the court, which is all the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit can do while his nomination is pending.

As they did at their meeting five months ago, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Garland, a Chicago native, discussed hometown baseball when reporters got a brief glimpse of the meeting.

Durbin said he discussed several topics with Garland, and added that he would recommend that Democrat Hillary Clinton consider re-nominating Garland if she wins the presidency. He predicted that if Clinton is president, Republicans would embrace the judge, who is seen as a more moderate choice and has been criticized by some liberal Democrats.

"She could start filling the first vacancy without a lot of sound and fury," Durbin said. "Who knows, there may be more vacancies during her presidency."

Reid has predicted that if Clinton wins, she would nominate Garland.