WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after President Obama announced he will nominate Merrick B.
Garland to the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the
«Under our Constitution, the President is obligated to nominate a justice to fill
openings on the Supreme Court and the Senate has a duty to independently consider
the nominee. In choosing Judge Garland, the President has fulfilled his commitment
and now it is the Senate’s turn.
«A fully functioning Supreme Court is essential to our government, judiciary, and
legal system. The American people deserve a fair hearing on Judge Garland’s
nomination to fully understand what kind of justice he will be. There is plenty of
room for tough questions and respectful debate in this process, but fidelity to our
Constitution should come first.
«I will carefully and objectively review this nomination, and I hope my Republican
colleagues will change their tune and take this opportunity to review and debate
this nominee rather than stonewall and avoid their duty.»
Merrick Garland is currently the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit, and has served under both Republican and Democratic
presidents, supervised high-profile cases at the U.S. Department of Justice, such as
the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice
William J. Brennan.
After his successful career as an attorney and a federal prosecutor, Merrick Garland
was confirmed in 1997 to the D.C. Circuit by a strong, bipartisan vote of 76 to 23.
Thirty-two Republicans, including seven Republicans who are currently serving, voted
in favor of his nomination.
Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States specifies that the
President:»shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to
make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall
nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and
all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise
provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law
vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the
President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.»
There are still 310 days until January 20, 2017, when the next President of the
United States will be sworn into office. The confirmation process for the last
three Supreme Court justices took an average of about 78 days from the time they
were nominated to the time they were confirmed: Samuel Alito (82 days in 2005-06);
Sonia Sotomayor (66 days in 2009); and Elena Kagan (87 days in 2010).