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Obama nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

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President Obama has nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat in the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama has nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat in the Supreme Court, setting up a showdown with Senate Republicans.

RELATED: 5 things you need to know about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland

He has been on the president's Supreme Court shortlist twice. Political insiders say Obama saved Garland for a time when he may need more Republican support, and that time is now.

Garland was clearly choking back tears as he accepted and President Obama seems to be hoping Republicans won't block his nomination.

At 63 years old, Chief Judge Garland is older than most Supreme Court nominees. "Judge Garland has earned a track record of building consensus as a thoughtful, fair minded judge who follows the law," Obama said.

The Chicago native and Harvard graduate walked away from the profits of private practice to become a prosecutor, eventually supervising the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing.

"He understands the way law affects the daily reality of people's lives in a big, complicated Democracy," Obama said.

On Wednesday in the Rose Garden, Garland's humility and humanity were on full display.

RELATED: Politicians, notable figures react to SCOTUS nomination

"This is the greatest honor of my life, other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago. This is also the greatest gift I've ever received except, and there's another caveat, the birth of our daughters, Jessie and Becky," Garland said during his acceptance speech.

Considered a moderate, Garland has served on the D.C. Court of Appeals for 18 years. He says a judge should follow the law, not make it.

"Fidelity to the Constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life," Garland said. "If the Senate sees fit to confirm me for the position for which I have been nominated today, I promise to continue on that course."

President Obama implored the senate to give Garland the respect he deserves by holding a hearing. "I hope they're fair, that's all. I hope they are fair," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the nomination with a brief remark on the Senate floor. He says there will be no confirmation hearings before the presidential election, saying this is about a principal, not a person.

Get the latest stories about the Supreme Court here.

Related Topics:
politicssupreme courtu.s. supreme courtbarack obamapresident barack obamarepublicansdemocrats2016 electionu.s. & worldWashington DC
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