As almost everyone has heard, President Obama nominated US Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland is the first Supreme Court nominee since President Obama nominated Elena Kagan on May 10, 2010, who was subsequently confirmed by a 63-37 vote in the US Senate. If confirmed, Judge Garland would fill the recent void left by the unexpected death of former Supreme Court Justice and legal superstar Antonin Scalia.
But, who exactly is Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland? Would he replicate Justice Scalia’s conservative, textualist leanings or strafe more towards the oft progressive Justice Ginsburg. Luckily for us, an article written by Georgia State’s very own Caren Morrison gives us a fantastic breakdown of Judge Garland’s record concerning a few contentious issues. Professor Morrison describes Garland as a “Moderate” with careful and meticulously written opinions. Some of his judicial highlights are:
- In three different instances Garland agreed with lower courts that Guantanamo detainees’ detention was legal because they were “more likely than not” part of the Taliban or al Qaeda. However, in Parhat v. Gates he refused to designate Parhat an “enemy combatant” due to a complete lack of evidence.
- Garland ruled against the CIA in granting an ACLU freedom of information act request (FOIA) regarding drones and targeted killings.
- He joined an opinion allowing the listing of polar bears as a threatened species under the ESA.
- He also voted to uphold EPA regulating power plant emissions. This decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia, Garland’s potential predecessor, wrote the opinion.
Read the entire, wonderfully written article here.