Obama picks judge Merrick Garland

2016-03-16 19:30
Judge Merrick Garland in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Nicholas Kamm , AFP)

Judge Merrick Garland in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Nicholas Kamm , AFP)

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Washington - President Barack Obama will on Wednesday nominate Merrick Garland, a centrist judge, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of justice Antonin Scalia, a White House official said.

The official said Obama would formally announce his intent to nominate the 63-year-old appeals court judge in a ceremony at the White House's Rose Garden at 15:00 GMT.

"Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history," the official said.

"No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court."

The nomination sets the stage for an election-year showdown with Republicans who have made it clear they have no intention of holding hearings to vet any Supreme Court nominee put forward by the president.

Republicans insist that with less than a year remaining in office, the nomination should be made by his successor in the White House.

Obama's choice for the vacancy on the nine-member high court is seen as possibly one of the most consequential actions of his presidency, with the potential to tip the balance from majority conservative to liberal.

"Throughout his career, Chief Judge Garland has shown a rare ability to bring people together and has earned the respect of everyone he has worked with," the White House official said.

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