It's been a bumpy road up until now, but on Wednesday morning, President Obama finally announced his Supreme Court pick, sending a message to congressional members to put a stop to the partisan bickering that has otherwise stalled the process. The president's pick, centrist appellate court judge Merrick Garland, addressed a small crowd in the Rose Garden following Obama's remarks on Wednesday, reinforcing the importance of a well-oiled justice system and recalling several of his own experiences. A transcript of Garland's Supreme Court nomination speech showed just how poignant and touching some of those moments had been.
"When I went to Oklahoma City to investigate the bombing of the federal building, I saw up close the devastation that can happen when someone abandons the justice system as a way of resolving grievances, and instead, takes matters into his own hands," Garland said, speaking before the small audience of family members, White House staff, and activists, according to The New York Times. "... I saw the importance of assuring victims and families that the justice system could work."
Garland first served as a special assistant to former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti in the late 1970s and early '80s before eventually being appointed as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in the late '80s. In 1993, Garland was brought on to work in the Clinton administration as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division, before eventually being tapped for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1995.
On Wednesday, Obama justified the pick and stressed the importance of Congress' consideration going forward. "To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn't even deserve a hearing, let alone an up or down vote, to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court, when two- thirds of Americans believe otherwise, that would be unprecedented," the president scolded. "My earnest hope is that senators take that time to reflect on the importance of this process to our democracy ... [Garland] is the right man for the job. He deserves to be confirmed. I could not be prouder of the work that he has already done on behalf of the American people."
Garland's own commentary, too, was supremely touching and lightly humorous, with the SCOTUS pick adding in his own witticisms to keep the mood light. A full transcript of his speech, as reported by The Washington Post, can be found below:
President Obama's pick will now move on to Congress, where Republicans and Democrats will be forced to weigh Garland's nomination on their end or, if the GOP has its way, continue the stalemate until the general election in November.