Obama To Announce Supreme Court Pick At 11 AM [UPDATE: Merrick Garland]

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[UPDATE: I nailed it. I have so many wonderful talents. And I’m modest too!

President Obama will be holding a press conference at 11:00 this morning to announce his nomination to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died just over a month ago.

President Obama will announce his nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court in the White House Rose Garden at 11 a.m., he said in an email to supporters Wednesday.

While Senate Republicans have said they will not consider any jurist the president nominates for the nation’s highest court, Obama sent out an email to supporters declaring he was prepared to do so. Late last week Obama had narrowed the list of potential nominees to three federal appeals judges: Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland and Paul Watford.

Both Srinivasan and Garland sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, while Watford sits on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Today, I will announce the person whom I believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court,” he said in the email. ” As president, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make.”

Obama wrote that he’s “devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision” and the White House has “reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.”

I don’t expect the nominee to get the courtesy of so much as a hearing, much less a vote, but pointing out the fundamentally obstructionist nature of Republican opposition to anything that Barack Obama says or does will make for good election optics. The Republican refusal, within 24 hours of Scalia’s death, to consider any Obama nominee, is a new and dangerous escalation in the judicial wars that have raged back and forth for a generation.

My money is on Merrick Garland. He’s highly regarded by both sides, he’s the Chief Jusge of the influential D.C. Circuit, he’s been strongly considered for every vacancy under a Democratic president since Stephen Breyer was selected in 1994, and at 63, he’s a little older than the norm now for picking younger and younger judges without lengthy track records. So he’s probably more palatable to wavering GOP senators than other nominees might be. Let’s see how wrong I can possibly be.

No matter who gets nominated, expect this issue to be a major issue in the campaign. Will vulnerable GOPers be willing to risk their careers on taking an unpopular and unprincipled stand in the hopes that Donald Trump can win the election and save the day? To state the proposition is to recognize its absurdity.

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