WASHINGTON — Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, has achieved a rare distinction in a polarized era. He has sat on a prominent appeals court for almost two decades, participated in thousands of cases, and yet earned praise from across the political spectrum.
A look at a substantial sample of his opinions starts to supply some answers about how he managed this unlikely feat. His writings reflect an able and modest judge with a limited conception of his role working on a docket largely lacking in cases on controversial social issues.
His most charged cases, involving national security and campaign finance, were as likely to disappoint liberals as to please them. He has repeatedly voted against detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and he joined in a decision after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United that gave rise to “super PACs.”
Continue reading: Where Merrick Garland Stands: A Close Look at His Judicial Record
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: In other words, dear fellow progressives, this Obama nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to disappoint if you’re looking to get the corrupting influence of money out of our political system, reverse the egregious tide of corporate power, and restrict the federal government from violating civil and human rights under the guise of national security. But worry not, for the time being, because Republicans seem determined to block any Obama judicial nominee at least until after the presidential election. If the Democratic candidate does win this November, Republicans might decide to confirm Merrick Garland during the lame-duck session for fear of getting a more liberal judge appointed to the nation’s highest court next year.