Federal Courts and Nominations

TV (FOX local distribution): Obama Nominates Garland as Supreme Court Nominee

Wednesday, President Obama announced Judge Merrick Garland as his pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

And now starts the fight in Congress to confirm the president’s nominee – which many Senate Republicans are vowing not to do, citing an age-old rule that prevents lawmakers from confirming anyone to the High Court during a presidential election season.

Fox News Correspondent Caroline Shively is in Washington with details.

“Trust that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship is what, in a large part, distinguishes this country from others,” said Judge Merrick Garland.

President Obama praised his new nominee for the Supreme Court, quickly pointing to the 32 Republicans who voted to confirm Garland when he was appointed to the D.C. circuit court back in 1997.

“During that confirmation process, he earned overwhelming bipartisan praise from senators and legal experts alike,” said Obama.

But within moments of the announcement, Senate Republicans were quick to point out that this time around, Garland’s nominee process is going nowhere.

“This president will not fill the vacancy. We will not vote on this nominee,” said Sen. John Cornyn.

Opposing lawmakers say it’s not about Garland or his qualifications – it’s about the process, referring to the time-honored tradition, under both Republicans and Democrats, to not confirm a nominee during a presidential election season.

“It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Meantime, judicial watchdogs appear split on the president’s pick.

“We know, of course, is that the president’s goal in the nomination is to get a fifth solid liberal vote to join the other four liberal judges on the court,” said Carrie Severino, of the Judicial Crisis Network.

“He has proven himself to be a respected jurist during his tenure on the district court,” said Elizabeth Wydra, with Constitutional Accountability [Center].

A Supreme Court justice has not been both nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year since 1940. And Senate Republicans are vowing that 76-year streak will not be broken this year.

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