U.S. President Barack Obama nominates appellate court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia who died in February. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama nominated veteran appellate court judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, setting up a potentially ferocious political showdown with Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any Obama nominee. Considered a moderate, Garland, 63, is currently chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was picked to replace long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. "I've selected a nominee who is widely recognised not only as one of America's sharpest legal minds but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. "These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle (Democrats and Republicans). He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately," Obama added. Senate confirmation is required for any nominee to join the bench and Senate Republicans have vowed not to hold confirmation hearings or a vote on any nominee picked by the Democratic president for the lifetime position on the court. Republicans are demanding that Obama leave the seat vacant and let the next president, to be elected in November and sworn in next January, make the selection. Garland, is a long-time appellate judge and former prosecutor who Obama also considered when he filled two previous Supreme Court vacancies. Federal appeals court judge Sri Srinivasan had also been a finalist for the nomination. In a foreshadowing of the pressure campaign the White House and its allies plan to wage in the coming weeks, the White House noted that seven current Republican U.S. senators voted to confirm Garland to the DC Circuit court in 1997.