President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to be the next Justice of the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Garland is the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Garland has served on the appeals panel since 1997, following a nomination by Bill Clinton in 1995 that was stalled for two years. Garland was approved then by the Senate in a 76-23 vote, with seven Republicans supporting him. (Sen. Orrin Hatch at the time called Garland “not only a fine nominee, but as good as Republicans can expect from [the Clinton] administration.”)
Garland grew up in Skokie, Illinois and graduated valedictorian from Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1974. Garland clerked for Judge Henry Friendly of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and then Supreme Court Justice William Brennan (both appointed by President Eisenhower).
After a brief stint in the Carter Justice Department, Garland entered private practice, and then was a prosecutor in Washington, D.C. and the Clinton Justice Department where he prosecuted the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, and terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
If approved, Garland would be the fourth Jewish justice to join the majority Catholic court. Garland, 63, would also be the oldest Supreme Court justice put on the bench since Lewis Powell in 1971, who was 64.