Almost 21 years ago today, the nation experienced its largest domestic terrorism attack. An explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City left 168 people dead.
Merrick Garland, today’s Supreme Court nominee, was a predominant figure in the case. At the time, he was working in the deputy attorney general’s office and was brought in to supervise the investigation and prosecution. This NPR article commented on Garland’s decision-making throughout the case, noting that he did everything to ensure that the investigation and prosecution went flawlessly.
Garland did everything by the book, not willing to take shortcuts and, in turn, sacrifice the case. Garland’s attitude towards that case reflects his history and views as a judge: by the book and following the law.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is one of the latest senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. King was impressed with Garland and stated that he deserves a public hearing.
This article from The Portland Press Herald stated that Sen. King found Garland to be what he considered a “small-conservative,” and not an activist at all. This was reassuring to Sen. King, especially seeing as the next Supreme Court judge is taking the place of Antonin Scalia, who was a strong conservative.
Sen. King is not the only senator from Maine to have met with Garland. He followed Sen. Susan Collins, who recently met with Garland and was also impressed.
Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently met for breakfast with President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Sen. Grassley made it clear that this was a “courtesy meeting” in order to inform Garland, in person, that he would receive no vote and no confirmation hearing.
The Los Angeles Time article states that Sen. Grassley is staying with the idea that the people should have a voice in the matter, letting the next President determine their own Supreme Court nominee.
The Supreme Court has already faced some challenges with deadlocked votes, and soon they are scheduled to hear one of the landmark cases this term.
While some claim that the Senate has a duty to give Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a proper hearing and vote, others claim that there is no such obligation.
This article from the American Center for Law and Justice points out that the Senate has a co-equal role to the president in the process of naming a nominee to the Supreme Court. They have the right to either act or take no action at all in regards to said nominee. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even said once that, “The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the executive branch.”
The ACLJ encourages Americans who support the Senate in their decision to make their voices heard by calling Senators’ offices, expressing support on social media or even signing the ACLJ petition.
President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy last month, but has yet to receive a hearing. However, he is not alone. There are currently 46 other judicial nominees that have yet to receive a vote.
The Huffington Post reports that GOP leaders do not want to confirm any judges until 2017, so there are currently vacancies on courts throughout the US that may remain vacant for awhile. Republicans, since becoming the Senate majority in January 2015, have only confirmed 16 judicial nominees.
President Obama says that this is “dangerous,” and the Republicans are only contributing to the political polarization of our judicial system.
Shortly after President Barack Obama announced Merrick Garland as his nomination to be the next Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, a current Supreme Court justice, released statements calling for more diversity on the court.
According to this article from Time, Justice Sotomayor believes that there is a disadvantage to having a homogenous group of justices. She has said that diversity among justices would allow them to consider and understand issues differently and from unique perspectives.
Although Justice Sotomayor did not specifically target Garland in her comments, some people have spoken out about his nomination and the lack of diversity. President Obama defends his nomination, saying that the focus should instead be on Garland’s experience and talent.
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., has become the first Republican to meet with Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
According to CBS News, the two met Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill. Sen. Kirk encouraged the other senators to follow his suit and meet with Garland. He said that those refusing to do so are being “closed-minded.”
There are some other senators who share Kirk’s views. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has expressed willingness to meet with Garland and plans on doing so soon.