The Free Beacon's Hollow Attack On Judge Garland's Bipartisan Credentials

The Washington Free Beacon attacked Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court because he volunteered for Democratic presidential candidates more than 20 years ago. However, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005, served on campaign organizations for both Bush and his father. Roberts also “assisted those working on behalf of George W. Bush” during litigation over the 2000 recount in Florida.

President Obama Selects Judge Merrick Garland, Who Has Been Praised By Conservatives, To Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama Announces Judge Merrick Garland As His Nominee To The Supreme Court. President Obama named Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Garland has served on the D.C. Circuit since 1997. [Associated Press, 3/16/16]

Conservatives Have Previously Praised Garland As A “Fine Man” With “A Very Good Reputation” Who Would Be Considered “A Consensus Nominee.” Prior to his nomination, conservatives frequently lauded Garland. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Garland would be a “consensus nominee” if Obama selected him for the nomination to the Supreme Court. [Media Matters, 3/16/16]

Media Have Highlighted Garland's Credentials, History Of Bipartisan Support. Following President Obama's nomination of Garland, media highlighted Garland's record as “an experienced and respected federal judge” and pointed out his history of “bipartisan support.” [Media Matters, 3/16/16]

Washington Free Beacon: Merrick Garland “Presented As A Moderate” But Volunteered For Democratic Presidential Candidates Over 20 Years Ago

Free Beacon Attacks Garland For Volunteering For Democrats In 1980s and 1990s. The Free Beacon reported that Garland, who “was presented as a moderate that could have bipartisan appeal,” has previously “offered his services to numerous Democratic presidential candidates.” The Beacon cited a questionnaire Garland submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time of his nomination for the D.C. Circuit in 1995, which indicated that he had “provided volunteer assistance on a Presidential Debate for President Clinton in October 1992 and for Michael Dukakis in October 1988” and “did some volunteer work for Walter Mondale's presidential campaign in 1983-84.” From the article:

President Barack Obama's choice for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court was presented as a moderate that could have bipartisan appeal, but Merrick Garland has previously disclosed in official documents that he has offered his services to numerous Democratic presidential candidates.

Buried in a questionnaire Garland submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995 is his disclosure of volunteer work for Democratic politicians that stretched from his years as a college student up to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992.

“I provided volunteer assistance on a Presidential Debate for President Clinton in October 1992 and for Michael Dukakis in October 1988,” Garland wrote in response to a question on his previous political involvement. “I did some volunteer work for Walter Mondale's presidential campaign in 1983-84. As a college student, I worked two summers for the campaign of my then-congressman, Abner Mikva, in 1972 and 1974.” [Washington Free Beacon, 3/17/16]

President George W. Bush Nominated Chief Justice John Roberts To Supreme Court Just 5 Years After He Volunteered For Bush's Campaign

Roberts Served On The Lawyers For Bush-Cheney Committee, Assisted With Litigation For The 2000 Recount Fight. In the questionnaire John Roberts submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee upon his nomination for the Supreme Court in 2005, which asked him to list his services rendered to a political party, Roberts responded that he had served on Lawyers for Bush-Cheney and that “At the requests of Benjamin Ginsberg and Ted Cruz, I went to Tallahassee in November 2000 to assist those working on behalf of George W. Bush on various aspects of the recount litigation” :

Executive Committee, D.C. Lawyers for Bush-Quayle '88.

Lawyers for Bush-Cheney.

At the requests of Benjamin Ginsberg and Ted Cruz, I went to Tallahassee in November 2000 to assist those working on behalf of George W. Bush on various aspects of the recount litigation. My recollection is that I stayed less than one week. I recall participating in a preparation session for another lawyer scheduled to appear before the Florida Supreme Court and generally being available to discuss issues as they arose. I returned to Tallahassee at some later point to meet with Governor Jeb Bush, to discuss in a general way the constitutional and statutory provisions implicated by the litigation. [Roberts questionnaire, accessed 3/17/16]

In Naming Roberts To The Bench, Bush Highlighted His Bipartisan Credentials. In his speech announcing that he would nominate Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, Bush highlighted how Roberts had “earned the respect of people from both political parties.” From Bush's speech:

Judge Roberts has earned the respect of people from both political parties.

After he was nominated for the Court of Appeals in 2001, a bipartisan group of more than 150 lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They wrote, “Although as individuals we reflect a wide spectrum of political party affiliation and ideology, we are united in our belief that John Roberts will be an outstanding Federal Court of Appeals judge and should be confirmed by the United States Senate.”

The signers of this letter included a former counsel to a Republican president, a former counsel to two Democratic presidents and former high-ranking Justice Department officials of both parties.

[...]

I believe that Democrats and Republicans alike will see the strong qualifications of this fine judge, as they did when they confirmed him by unanimous consent to the judicial seat he now holds. [Transcript of President Bush's nomination of John Roberts, 7/19/2005, via CNN.com]