Who is Merrick Garland?

Law Journal Library, News, U.S. Congressional Documents, U.S. Supreme Court
Shannon Furtak

Last week, President Obama announced his choice for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement. The debate between Republicans and Democrats over whether Merrick Garland will even receive a hearing or vote appears to be far from over, but he is now in the public eye as a possible Supreme Court justice.

Merrick Garland is a U.S. Court of Appeals judge who, as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, supervised the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber cases. He currently serves as the chief justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. According to biography.com, he is well known in Washington legal circles, and has drawn support from representatives of both parties. He is 63 years old, a former clerk of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., and a graduate of Harvard Law School. He attended Harvard on scholarship for his undergraduate studies, graduated summa cum laude, and put himself through law school by tutoring, stocking shoes and, according to President Obama, "selling his comic book collection." Read Garland's law review articles, which have been cumulatively cited 240 times by other articles in HeinOnline, by accessing his author profile page:

Garland is known for being moderate, and his track record reflects a lack of controversy.  This ravellaw.com post offers insight on his citation tendencies in a convenient chart format. Garland has ruled on cases that cover a wide spectrum of issues, including the authority of federal courts, employment discrimination, and human rights violations. Review this list of cases authored by Merrick Garland, available in HeinOnline and powered by Fastcase. Sort search results by Decision Date (Oldest First) to view the cases in chronological order:

Ravellaw.com also provides a chart of the short list of potential nominees ranked by influence. The ranking system uses the number of rulings written by a judge, as well as the number of times those decisions have been cited by other opinions. Garland is by far the most influential judge on the list, and before this nomination he was considered a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy when Justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010.

Check out this recent CRS Insight for more information on the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process. Access the referenced CRS reports in HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents collection:

To find these or other CRS Reports in HeinOnline, use the Catalog tab located on the main search bar to enter the report number:

We will continue to follow Merrick Garland's nomination story as it unfolds. For help searching in HeinOnline, contact our dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us!