Published On: Wed, Mar 16th, 2016

Obama nominates Jewish Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia

Merrick-Garland Merrick Garland,   chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,   was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Wikimedia Commons)


US President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the late Antonin Scalia who died last month, the Associated Press, CNN, NPR, and more media sources.

If confirmed, Garland would be the fourth Jewish justice on the highest court, which is comprised entirely of Jews and Catholics. The three current Jewish members of the Supreme Court are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer.

Obama considered Garland in 2010 when John Paul Stevens retired. He even giving him an interview, but Elena Kagan finally got that seat. Garland was also one of nine finalists to replace David Souter in 2009, when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated.

Garland is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices.

Garland was born in Chicago, to Jewish mother, Shirley (née Horwitz), and a Protestant father, Cyril Garland. Garland was raised as a Jew. His father headed a small business,  Garland Advertising.

“As President, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a Justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make, ” Obama said in an email message. “I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision. I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.”

Garland is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. He has worked in Washington since the 1970s, first as a Supreme Court clerk, then a private lawyer, an assistant U.S. attorney and, since 1997, a federal judge. In 1979 after finishing his Supreme Court clerkship, Garland became a special assistant to the U.S. attorney general before joining the Washington law firm Arnold & Porter. He later served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and a deputy assistant attorney general until his appointment as U.S. circuit court judge. Clinton first nominated him in 1995, but the Republican-controlled Senate dragged its feet on confirming him. After Clinton won reelection in 1996 he renominated Garland, and the judge was confirmed in March 1997 by a 76-23 vote in the Senate.

In 1987,  he married fellow Harvard graduate Lynn Rosenman in a Jewish ceremony at the Harvard Club in New York.

Rosenman’s grandfather,  Samuel Rosenman, was a state Supreme Court justice in New York and a special counsel to two presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.


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