President Barack Obama has picked federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to fill late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, NPR reports.
Garland, 63, who is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was chosen over two other federal court judges.
Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House, Obama noted that nominating a Supreme Court justice is “not a responsibility I take lightly.” Obama added that Garland has earned overwhelming bipartisan praise.
“Before becoming a judge, Garland occupied top posts in the Justice Department, where he oversaw some of the biggest investigations of the Clinton era, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber case, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing,” NPR states.
Garland was reportedly considered for two prior openings on the Supreme Court during Obama’s presidency.
Shortly after Scalia’s death a month ago, many Republicans vowed to block any Obama nomination, noting that the next president should be allowed the opportunity to fill the seat in January.
Garland’s nomination is seen by some Democrats as a concession from the president because Garland is a moderate who has already won praise from senior Republican figures including Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Chief Justice John Roberts, NPR reports.
“I have fulfilled my constitutional duty; now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs,” Obama said. “Presidents do not stop working in the final year of their term; neither should a senator.”
Read more at NPR.