Moments before news reports confirmed D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland would be President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court vacancy, CBS' chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford described Merrick as “respected” and “the best candidate that Republicans could hope for from a Democratic president.”
Garland, who was appointed to the D.C. Circuit in 1997, has long been praised by Republicans and Democrats. During Garland's 1997 confirmation hearing, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who still sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “To my knowledge, no one, absolutely no one disputes the following: Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned.” Hatch also said Garland's “legal experience is equally impressive.”
Hatch also said, “Opposition to this nomination will only serve to undermine the credibility of our legitimate goal of keeping proven activists off the bench.”
In 2010, when Garland was previously considered for a Supreme Court vacancy, The Houston Chronicle reported, “Garland is regarded by legal scholars as a moderate, and he is well respected by both Democrats and Republicans in Washington.”
From the March 16 edition of CBS This Morning:
JAN CRAWFORD: During a month-long search, the president really focused on a few highly regarded federal appeals court justices. Leading contenders are both here on the D.C.-based federal appeals court. There's Merrick Garland. He's an experienced and respected federal judge.
If the president nominates Garland, who is, I mean, no liberal firebrand, it would signal that he is hoping for some kind of compromise. Garland is considered the best candidate that Republicans could hope for from a Democratic president.