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President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court: USC experts weigh in

Legal specialists include one who was a clerk for the nominee and two Supreme Court justices

Sam Erman and Rebecca Brown discuss on the Supreme Court vacancy.

President Barack Obama today nominated appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. USC experts, including one who was a clerk for Garland, explain the legal and political questions surrounding what has become a source of contention between the U.S. Senate and the president.


About the nominee

“I became a better lawyer because I clerked with him. He is a smart, careful and fair judge which is why he has a great reputation. I am very fond of him and very happy he has been nominated.”

SAM ERMAN
USC law professor and constitutional law expert, who clerked for the nominee, Garland, in 2009 and 2010 at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; he also clerked Supreme Court justices Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens


What the Constitution says

“The Constitution tells us that the president ‘shall appoint’ justices of the Supreme Court with the advice and the consent of the Senate. … Never in our history has the Senate refused to take up a nomination from any president.”

REBECCA LATHAM BROWN
Constitutional law theorist at the USC Gould School of Law, who holds the Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law


Obama’s choice

“This was the safest choice Obama could make. But it still won’t be enough for Republicans.”

DAN SCHNUR
Executive director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court: USC experts weigh in

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