On Fox News Wednesday morning, Judge Andrew Napolitano called Merrick Garland “the most conservative” nominee to the Supreme Court ever presented by a Democratic president in the modern era. The announcement may seem surprising, but some analysts predict President Obama purposely chose a moderate candidate to tie Republican lawmakers’ hands.
Attorney and Supreme Court analyst Tim O’Brien told Fox New’s Bill Hemmer that Obama is clearly “putting Republicans on the spot.”
Garland served for 19 years on the D.C. circuit as a center right judge, Napolitano indicated. Some of Garland’s decisions support that description, including the outcome of Al Odah v. United States, where Garland voted against the rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Yet, Garland’s supposed conservative credentials are in contrast with this profile from ThinkProgress, which quoted an expert stating Garland would be an ideal candidate to “articulate a broad progressive vision for the law.” National Review worries that that Garland may reverse the efforts of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to protect Second Amendment rights, specifically in regards to his plans for D.C. v. Heller.
Moreover, CNN's Manu Raju indicated how "happy" liberals were with the president's decision.
"A number of democrats are happy about this because they believe that he's qualified for the post and also has a liberal, more progressive bend in his background which could fire up the democratic base in this election year."
Garland, 63, was born in Obama’s hometown of Chicago. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school, before graduating summa cum laude from Harvard Law School.
From 1978 to 1979, Garland clerked for liberal Justice William Brennan. He then joined the Justice Department and eventually became principal associate deputy attorney general. As a federal prosecutor, Garland worked to bring justice upon Timothy McVeigh, who murdered almost 200 innocent Americans during the horrifying 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Garland also supervised the investigation against Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated Garland to the D.C. appeals court. Five current GOP senators opposed him, including these two.
McConnell & Grassley voted against Merrick Garland for federal bench in 1997— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 16, 2016
In 2013, Garland became the chief judge of the appeals court.
Despite Garland’s having a somewhat moderate record, Congress is adamant in their decision to not forward the nomination process.
“No,” we won’t hold a hearing, said Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), member of Senate Judiciary Committee, on Fox News Wednesday.
The American people deserve a chance to make the decision, he continued.
"It doesn’t have to do with who he nominates,” Lee insisted. “I don’t care if they put my brother on there.”
We are in a presidential election year and that is no environment to decide on the makeup of the nation’s highest court in the land, Lee concluded.