Merrick Garland, the 63-year-old chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is the nominee for the position in the United States Supreme Court, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
Garland's nomination follows the vacancy to the nine-judge US Supreme Court, after Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13. Garland would bring a spirit of modesty, integrity and even-handedness to the highest court of the law, Obama said.
"I've selected a nominee who is widely recognised not only as one of America's sharpest legal minds but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence," Reuters quoted Obama as saying in the White House.
"These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle (Democrats and Republicans). He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately," he added.
Nominating Garland, Obama said: "Presidents don't stop working in the final year of their term. Neither should a Senator."
"Presidents don't stop working in the final year of their term.
Neither should a Senator."
â€” The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2016
"Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution invests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice. This is not a responsibility I take lightly," CNBC quoted Obama as saying.
Senate Republicans have decided to not consider any nomination to the US Supreme Court by Obama, as they want the next president, hoping to be from the Republican Party, to nominate Scalia's successor. Senate has to confirm president's nomination for the nominee to join the bench.
Obama, however, hoped that the Senate Republicans would "move quickly to consider my nominee." "To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn't even deserve a hearing, let alone an up-or-down vote, to join an institution as important as the Supreme Court, ... that would be unprecedented," he said.
Senate will not consider Obama's nominee: Mitch McConnell
Obama nominated the Garland "not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicise it for the purpose of the election," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday after announcement of the nomination, according to CNBC.
The Senate will "revisit the matter when the next president nominates someone... The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different," he added.
Who is Merrick Garland?
Born Nov. 13, 1952, in Illinois, Garland educated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, according to My North West.com.
During his career, he worked with the Justice Department as principal associate deputy attorney general and deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division. He went on to become a federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia in 1989 until 1992. Later he joined Arnold & Porter law firm as partner from 1985 to 1989, and again from 1992 to 1993.
Garland oversaw the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1997.