President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated appellate court judge Merrick Garland, considered a moderate with a history of support from both parties, to the U.S. Supreme Court, defying threats by the Republican-led Senate to block any nominee he picks.
Obama selected Garland, 63, to fill the vacancy left by the Feb. 13 death of Antonin Scalia, who during his three-decade tenure became the court’s most influential conservative voice. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.
Garland was twice before considered as a nominee for the lifetime job as a justice but passed over when Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Garland has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1997 and previously served in the Justice Department under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
He has won praise in the past from Republicans and Democrats and is viewed as a moderate whose legal approach was shaped by his lengthy career as a federal prosecutor.
Federal appeals court judge Sri Srinivasan also had been a finalist for the nomination.