Merrick Garland: What to Know About Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court today.

Early Career

Garland was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs of the Windy City. He received his undergraduate education from Harvard College, and later earned his law degree there in 1977. He then clerked for Judge Henry Friendly of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, both appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.


Garland was formerly a partner at law firm Arnold & Porter, but the majority of his career has been spent in government. He’s held roles as special assistant to the U.S. attorney general, assistant U.S. attorney for D.C. and deputy assistant attorney general.

Chances of Being Confirmed

In recent weeks, Senate Republican leaders have vowed not to hold hearings on Obama's nominee, arguing that the decision ought to be made by the next president. But Garland’s reputation as a fair-minded, judicial moderate may undercut efforts by GOP opponents to obstruct his nomination. His law enforcement background, including his pursuit of the death penalty in high-profile prosecutions, may further insulate him from Republican attacks.

On the other hand, his Supreme Court clerkship under the liberal Justice Brennan, and his appointment to the D.C. Circuit by President Clinton, may supply ammunition to Senate Republicans.

Personal Life

Garland and wife Lynn were married in 1987 and have two daughters. His hobbies include tennis and skiing, according to The New York Times.

Interesting Facts

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