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Obama Set to Announce Merrick Garland as His Supreme Court Nominee

The president is expected to choose Garland, who has been described as a "model, neutral judge," as his nominee to replace Antonin Scalia.
Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA

President Barack Obama will announce his nominee to the Supreme Court in the White House's Rose Garden at 11am Wednesday morning.

It's been widely reported that Obama will nominate Merrick Garland, the chief justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is commonly considered the second most powerful court in America after the Supreme Court itself.

Garland, 63, is the DC Circuit Court's chief judge and has been described as a "model, neutral judge" — the sort of centrist candidate that conservatives could possibly get on board with if they decided to consider an Obama nominee. Garland has had the support of conservative commentators and Supreme Court watchers in the past, when his name was floated for a possible opening, according to SCOTUSblog.


In choosing Garland, Obama will nominate another white male to the Supreme Court, despite speculation that he would choose a woman or a minority candidate.

Watch live starting at 11pm ET as Obama announces his Supreme Court nominee:

Obama strongly considered nominating Sri Srinivasan, 49, who also serves as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and would be the first Supreme Court justice of South Asian descent, as well as the first Hindu justice on the Court. Srinivasan was confirmed to the appeals court by the Senate in a 97-0 vote in 2013 and previously worked in the Solicitor General's office during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Also on Obama's shortlist were three other minority candidates: Jane Kelly, a female judge from Iowa who was previously supported by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley; Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is related by marriage to House Speaker Paul Ryan and would be the first African-American woman to sit on the bench; and Paul Watford, an African-American judge who previously clerked with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Related: There Is About to Be a Nasty Fight Over Replacing Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court

But the administration has long thought of Garland as a potential compromise candidate, if Republicans controlled Congress, as they do now.

The Senate, which has to approve all appointments to the Supreme Court, does not seem particularly keen to do so.


The vacancy created by Scalia's death last month quickly set off a bitter confirmation fight between Obama, who has promised to fulfill his obligations to fill the seat before his term ends, and Republican senators who have promised to block any nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not hold hearings on anyone whom Obama chooses to nominate to the Supreme Court. Republicans, who control the Senate, do not want to see the court shift ideologically to the left and say the next justice should be picked by the winner of the November 8 presidential election.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has said his panel won't even hold hearings on the next Obama nominee. And the Republican National Committee has already convened a task force on the issue, to help the party fight its side of this battle in television ads ahead of the 2016 elections.

Still, Obama said in a press release Wednesday morning, ahead of the announcement, that he continues to hope that Congress will "move quickly to consider my nominee."

Reuters contributed to this report.