President Barack Obama nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, setting up what could be a protracted confirmation battle with congressional Republicans.
Garland, the 63-year-old chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has nearly two decades on the bench, and as a prosecutor, he oversaw the Oklahoma City bombing and “Unabomber” terror cases.
He is widely seen as a centrist, a reputation the White House likely hopes will help draw GOP votes in the Senate. Garland was confirmed to the D.C. appeals court in 1997 with a 76-23 vote; he got backing from 30 Republicans. He became that court’s chief judge in 2013.
“I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision,”Obama said in an email to supporters early Wednesday. “I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.”
Read more: NBC News