President Barack Obama announced Merrick Garland as his nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday morning.
The 63-year-old Garland has been the chief justice of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit since 1997. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton, working in the Justice Department where he eventually oversaw the prosecutions in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
"The one name that has come up repeatedly—from Republicans and Democrats alike—is Merrick Garland,” President Obama said from the Rose Garden.
President Obama then asked the Senate to be "fair" and consider Judge Garland, adding that the Supreme Court is supposed to be “above politics.”
“To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing would be unprecedented."
However, Senate House Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican party members have repeatedly said that they would not consider President Obama’s nomination leading up to the announcement. During Wednesday’s Senate meeting, McConnell said that the next justice could fundamentally alter the course of the nation.
"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," McConnell said.
"Instead of spending more time debating an issue where we can't agree, let's keep working to address the issues where we can," the Kentucky senator added. "The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.”
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