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Penn Law faculty comment on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland

March 16, 2016

Penn Law faculty members respond to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Penn Law faculty members respond to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Regina Austin L’73, William A. Schnader Professor of Law “I’m, of course, disappointed because the nominee was not a woman and/or a minority group member. We need a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America. At the same time, we must recognize that the Senate has a role to play in confirming the president’s choice. I think that the president’s effort to avoid a constitutional controversy and more hysterical divisive behavior by the opposition party will be among the reasons even Obama’s knee-jerk critics will miss him after he leaves office.”

“Judge Garland is an accomplished lawyer and a respected judge with a powerful legal mind. He is also the most centrist nominee that the Republican leadership could reasonably have imagined from a Democratic president. His selection will likely be viewed as a missed opportunity among liberals who hoped that the president would use this nomination to effect a shift in direction on the Court. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that Judge Garland would be a moderating influence in comparison to the role that Justice Scalia played on the bench.”


Kermit Roosevelt, Professor of Law
“By picking a highly qualified moderate, Obama has increased the political pressure on Senate Republicans to participate in the process of constitutional self-governance.”



Theodore Ruger, Dean and Professor of Law
“Merrick Garland is a respected and experienced jurist with a track record of working well with judges holding a broad range of perspectives. Republican senators have in past years endorsed his judicial qualifications. It will be very difficult for the current Senate majority to give principled reasons why his nomination to the Supreme Court should not receive full and fair consideration.”


Christopher Yoo, John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science; Director, Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition
“President Obama’s reasons for picking Merrick Garland are clear enough. He is a distinguished jurist who was confirmed to the Court of Appeals with broad bipartisan support. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Judge Garland is the oldest of the rumored finalists. A younger nominee would have the chance for a longer tenure on the Supreme Court.”