Meet Merrick Garland

- March 16, 2016

Obama's Attempt To Create "The Most Liberal Supreme Court In 50 Years"



  • Today, Obama announced he will nominate Judge Merrick Garland to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court in an effort to create "the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years."
  • The media overwhelmingly agrees that Judge Garland has "right kind of ideology" for Obama and "would usually - if not always" vote with the "liberal bloc" of current Supreme Court Justices.
  • Judge Garland was viewed as liberal enough by the Obama administration to be considered for Attorney General.
  • Judge Garland's liberal record suggests he has a "strong hostility to gun owner rights" and a complete disregard for the Second Amendment.
  • Judge Garland's liberal record of supporting big government bureaucracy suggests he would uphold the left wing, big government regulatory agenda.
  • Judge Garland’s liberal record shows why Obama is trying to bypass decades of bipartisan precedent, it’s clear he wants to break with tradition so he can shift the balance of the court.
  • The American people should have a voice in this process and with Judge Garland's nomination, President Obama is denying voters that voice.


Today, Obama Announced He Will Nominate Judge Merrick Garland To Fill The Current Vacancy On The Supreme Court. "President Barack Obama will nominate federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, NBC News has confirmed." (Pete Williams and Daniel Arkin, "Obama To Nominate Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland For The Supreme Court," NBC News, 3/16/16)


The New York Times : "If Judge Garland Is Confirmed, He Could Tip The Ideological Balance To Create The Most Liberal Supreme Court In 50 Years." "If Judge Garland is confirmed, he could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years." (Sarah Almukhtar, "Why Obama Nominated Merrick Garland For The Supreme Court," The New York Times, 3/16/16)

National Journal: Garland's "Overall Record Suggests He Would Usually - If Not Always - Vote With Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, And Sonia Sotomayor." "But Garland is no conservative. His overall record suggests that when the Supreme Court splits along liberal-conservative lines, he would usually - if not always - vote with Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor." (Stuart Taylor, Jr., "Garland Born To Be A Judge," The National Journal, 4/24/10)

The Liberal Center For American Progress's Think Progress Blog: "It Is Likely That Garland Would Side With The Supreme Court's Liberal Bloc In Divided Cases." "Like the much younger Srinivasan, Garland's resume is laden with the kind of credentials that make mere mortal attorneys droll with envy - including a clerkship for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan and a senior Justice Department job prior to Garland's elevation to the bench. On most issues, moreover, is is likely that Garland would side with the Supreme Court's liberal bloc in divided cases." (Ian Millhiser, "What we Know About The Judges Obama Is Reportedly Vetting For The Supreme Court," Think Progress , 3/8/16)

  • The Associated Press : "If Confirmed, Garland Would Be Expected To Align With The More Liberal Members." "If confirmed, Garland would be expected to align with the more liberal members, but he is not viewed as down-the-line liberal." (Kathleen Heinnessey and Mary Clare Jalonick, "Obama Nominates Garland To High Court, Challenge GOP," The Associated Press , 3/16/16)

New York Magazine's John Heilemann: Garland Is Progressive "On Some Of The Most Important Issues Facing The Court - The Environment And Labor Law, To Name Two." "On some of the most important issues facing the court - the environment and labor law, to name two - Garland is every bit as progressive as Stevens, and much more so than the older judge was when he arrived on the high court." (John Heilemann, "The President And The Persuader," New York Magazine, 4/23/10)

Judge Garland Has The "Kind Of Ideology" That Will "Protect The Legislative Gains" Of Obama's Presidency

NBC News' Justice Correspondent Pete Williams: For Obama, Garland Has "The Right Kind Of Ideology." NBC's PETE WILLIAMS: "I mean, the thing is now presidents tend to want younger nominees. If you look at the most recent trend, they're nominating people in their 50s. That's not Merrick Garland, but he's the right kind of ideology." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 2/14/16)

New York Magazine's John Heilemann: Garland A Good Choice For Obama To "Protect The Legislative Gains Of His Presidency." "And Garland's tendency toward statutory deference … should be seen as a crucial quality by Obama, among whose main goals with this pick must be to protect the legislative gains of his presidency." (John Heilemann, "The President And The Persuader," New York Magazine, 4/23/10)

National Public Radio : Garland Has Been A "Persuasive Voice For Liberals." "But Garland has also been a persuasive voice for liberals, managing to bring conservatives over to his side on issues ranging from the environment to national security." (Nina Totenberg and Carrie Johnson, "Merrick Garland Has A Reputation Of Collegiality, Record Of Republican Support," NPR, 3/16/16)

Democrat Senators Are "Very Happy" With Garland's "Liberal, More Progressive" Background

CNN's Manu Raju: Democrat Senators Are "Very Happy" With Garland's "Liberal, More Progressive" Background." CNN'S MANU RAJU: "I spoke to a number of Democrat Senators who are very happy about this because they believe that Garland is eminently qualified for the post and also has a liberal, more progressive bent in his background, something that could potentially fire up the Democratic base in this election year." (CNN's "Newsroom," 3/16/16)

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Garland Was "Seen As A Potential Contender" To Replace Eric Holder As Obama's Attorney General, Among Other Cabinet Posts In Obama's Second Term. "Judge Merrick Garland, currently serving on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is seen as a potential contender for Holder's job but also could replace Napolitano. Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is seen as a DHS contender as well." (Edward-Isaac Dovere, "Obama's Second-Term Cabinet," Politico, 11/7/12)

Unsurprisingly, Garland Served As A Clerk For "Legendary Liberal Champion" Justice William Brennan

Garland Clerked For "Legendary Liberal Champion" Justice William Brennan. "A magna cum laude Harvard Law School graduate, he clerked not just for any Supreme Court justice but for William J. Brennan Jr., the legendary liberal champion." (Jerry Markon, "Merrick Garland's Been Considered For The Supreme Court Before. Is This His Year?," The Washington Post , 3/10/16)


National Review : Garland "Has A Very Liberal View Of Gun Rights" And Is "Willing To Uphold Executive Actions That Violate The Rights Of Gun Owners." "Garland thought all of these regulations were legal, which tells us two things. First, it tells us that he has a very liberal view of gun rights, since he apparently wanted to undo a key court victory protecting them. Second, it tells us that he's willing to uphold executive actions that violate the rights of gun owners. That's not so moderate, is it?" (Carrie Severino, "The 'Moderates' Are Not So Moderate: Merrick Garland," National Review, 3/11/16)

Garland Voted To Review A Court Decision That "Struck Down A Restrictive D.C. Ban On Gun Ownership"

In 2007, Garland Voted In Favor Of A Review Of The D.C. Circuit's Decision Invalidating The D.C. Handgun Ban, Which The Supreme Court Affirmed. "Garland also notably voted in favor of en banc review of the D.C. Circuit's decision invalidating the D.C. handgun ban, which the Supreme Court subsequently affirmed." (Tom Goldstein, "The Potential Nomination Of Merrick Garland," SCOTUSBlog, 4/26/10)

  • "Among The Judges Who Voted In Favor Of Granting The Petition For Rehearing Were David S. Tatel And Merrick B. Garland, Both Clinton Appointees." "After losing before the three judge D.C. Circuit panel, the D.C. government petitioned for a rehearing en banc. In other words, the D.C. government asked that the appeal be re-heard by a panel consisting of all the judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. On May 8, the D.C. Circuit announced that it had voted 6-4 against granting the petition for rehearing en banc. Among the judges who voted in favor of granting the petition for rehearing were David S. Tatel and Merrick B. Garland, both Clinton appointees." (Dave Kopel, "D.C.'s Gun Ban: Round 2," America's 1st Freedom, 7/07)
  • The Federal Appeals Court "Let Stand A Ruling That Struck Down A Restrictive D.C. Ban On Gun Ownership," But Garland Voted To Reconsider The Decision. "A federal appeals court in Washington yesterday let stand a ruling that struck down a restrictive D.C. ban on gun ownership, setting the stage for a potentially major constitutional battle over the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court. … [DC Mayor Adrian] Fenty and other officials had asked the full appeals court to review a ruling issued by a three-judge panel that struck down a part of the D.C. law that bars people from keeping handguns in homes. With its 6 to 4 vote to reject a hearing by the full court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sped up the timetable for a showdown. … Those voting to reconsider were Merrick B. Garland, Judith W. Rogers, David S. Tatel and A. Raymond Randolph." (Carol D. Leonnig, "Full Court Will Not Review Ruling," The Washington Post, 5/9/07)

Garland Voted In Favor Of Retaining The Personal Information Of Americans Who Purchase Firearms

In 2000, Garland Ruled In Favor Of Federal Government Plan To Retain Americans' Personal Information From Background Checks For Firearm Purchases. "A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the FBI can hold on to gun purchase records for six months to ensure that a federal computer system that conducts millions of instant criminal background checks is working properly. The 2 to 1 ruling was a defeat for the National Rifle Association, which argued that the practice amounted to an 'illegal national registration of gun owners.' The NRA contended that the law requires the FBI to destroy records of approved purchases immediately. … Gun dealers are required to submit information about prospective buyers to the computer system in an effort to prevent sales to convicted felons, fugitives and other disqualified buyers. The information includes the customer's name, sex, race, date of birth and state of residence. The computer is supposed to immediately generate a response for gun dealers that approves, rejects or postpones the sale for further investigation. … U.S. District Judge James Robertson dismissed the NRA's lawsuit last year, concluding that the Justice Department acted reasonably in establishing auditing standards. The NRA asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Robertson's ruling. Appellate Judges David S. Tatel and Merrick B. Garland, both Clinton appointees, rejected the NRA's argument. David B. Sentelle, a Reagan appointee, dissented." (Bill Miller, "Appeals Court Rules FBI Can Keep Gun Records," The Washington Post, 7/12/00)

  • "In A 2000 Case, Judge Garland Ruled As Part Of A 2-1 Majority Against The National Rifle Association (NRA) In Its Challenge Of A Justice Department Regulation To Temporarily Retain Information Gathered During Background Checks For Firearms Purchases." (Ben Conery and Kara Rowland, "Battle Lines Already Forming Over Shortlist To Fill Stevens' Seat On The Supreme Court," The Washington Times, 4/22/10)

America's 1st Freedom Magazine: 2000 Case Signaled Garland's "Strong Hostility To Gun Owner Rights." "The Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights in a 2000 case that had challenged the policy of Janet Reno's Department of Justice of retaining for six months the records of lawful gun buyers from the National Instant Check System. At that time, the Tatel-Garland ruling flouted the 1968 federal law prohibiting federal gun registration, and also flouted the 1994 law that created the National Instant Check System and had ordered that instant check records of law-abiding gun purchasers be destroyed. (Attorney General John Ashcroft later ended Reno's registration scheme.)" (Dave Kopel, "D.C.'s Gun Ban: Round 2," America's 1st Freedom, July 2007)


SCOTUSBlog's Tom Goldstein: "Judge Garland Has Strong Views Favoring Deference To Agency Decisionmakers. In A Dozen Close Cases In Which The Court Divided, He Sided With The Agency Every Time." "Judge Garland has strong views favoring deference to agency decisionmakers. In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time. FedEx Home Delivery v. NLRB, 563 F.3d 492 (2009) (Garland, J., dissenting) (dissenting from panel opinion overturning NLRB's designation of workers as employees rather than contractors); Northeast Bev. Corp. v. NLRB, 554 F.3d 133 (2009) (Garland, J., dissenting) (dissenting from panel opinion overturning NLRB's determination that certain conduct was protected under Section 7 of the NLRA); Financial Planning Ass'n v. SEC, 482 F.3d 481 (2007) (Garland, J., dissenting) (dissenting from panel opinion of Rogers, J., joined by Kavanaugh, J., invalidating SEC rule exempting broker-dealers from Investment Advisor Act in certain circumstances); Alpharma v. Leavitt, 460 F.3d 1 (2006) (per Garland, J.) (upholding FDA determination to approve drug, over partial dissent by Williams, S.J.); Secretary of Labor v. Excel Mining, 334 F.3d 1 (2003) (per Garland, J.) (joined by Rogers, J., upholding citations against mine operator issued by Secretary of Labor; over dissenting opinion of Sentelle, J.); Train v. Veneman, 310 F.3d 747 (2002) (joining opinion of Rogers, J., upholding Secretary of Agriculture's implementation of subsidy program, over dissent of Sentelle, J.); American Corn Growers Ass'n v. EPA, 291 F.3d 1 (2002) (Garland, J., dissenting in part) (dissenting from majority opinion upholding industry challenge to part of EPA's anti-haze regulations), after remand Util. Air Reg. Group v. EPA, 471 F.3d 1333 (2006) (Garland, J., on panel upholding regulations); Ross Stores v. NLRB, 234 F.3d 669 (2001) (Garland, J., dissenting in part) (dissenting from panel's determination to overturn NLRB's finding that employer unlawfully admonished employee for engaging in union solicitation); NRA v. Reno, 216 F.3d 122 (2000) (joining opinion of Tatel, J., upholding regulations implementing Brady Act; over dissent of Sentelle, J.); Iceland Steamship Co., Ltd. v. U.S. Dep't of Army, 201 F.3d 451 (2000) (joining opinion of Sentelle, J., to uphold Army Contracting Officer's decision; over dissent of Henderson, J.); American Trucking Ass'n v. U.S. E.P.A., 195 F.3d 4 (1999) (Tatel, J., dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc) (Garland, J., joins dissent from denial of rehearing en banc of invalidation of EPA regulations under non-delegation doctrine), rev'd Whitman v. American Trucking Ass'ns, 531 U.S. 457 (2001); Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc. v. Shalala, 131 F.3d 1050 (1997) (joining opinion of Silberman, J., upholding interpretation of Social Security Act; over dissent by Sentelle, J.)." (Tom Goldstein, "The Potential Nomination Of Merrick Garland," SCOTUSBlog, 4/26/10)

Garland Dissented From 2002 Ruling That Struck Down EPA Regulations. "The Environmental Protection Agency must rework part of its regulation to cut pollution in national parks and wilderness areas, a federal appeals court said Friday. The EPA rule issued in 1999 requires states to take action to reduce air pollution from power plants and other sources whose emissions drift often hundreds of miles, causing haze and visibility problems in remote areas such as national parks and wilderness. … In a 2-1 decision Friday, a three-judge panel upheld the program's fundamental goal of the states implementing pollution controls that would return parks and wilderness areas to 'natural visibility' over 60 years. But the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said an EPA directive that states must require certain groups of polluters to use the 'best available technology' to cut pollution undermines states' ability to decide how best to address the problem and is against the law. … Judge Merrick Garland filed a dissent, maintaining that the federal Clean Air Act expressly delegates authority to the EPA to make judgments on what steps should be required to reduce pollution. Judges Raymond Randolph and Harry Edwards disagreed." (F. Josef Hebert, "Court: EPA Must Rework Plan To Cut Pollution In National Parks," The Associated Press, 5/24/02)

  • Majority Opinion: "Under EPA's Take On The Statute, It Is Therefore Entirely Possible That A Source May Be Forced To Spend Millions Of Dollars For New Technology That Will Have No Appreciable Effect On The Haze." "Key provisions of the Environmental Protection Agency's 1999 regional haze rule are unlawful, a federal appeals court ruled May 24. The rule's best available retrofit technology (BART) provisions are contrary to the text, structure and history of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held in American Corn Growers Assn. v. EPA. … 'Under EPA's take on the statute, it is therefore entirely possible that a source may be forced to spend millions of dollars for new technology that will have no appreciable effect on the haze in any Class I area,' the appeals court said in remanding the rule to EPA." ( Public Power Weekly, Accessed 3/15/16)

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