63 Facts About Merrick Garland


Merrick Garland served as a circuit judge of the U S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1997 to 2021.

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President Barack Obama, a Democrat, nominated Merrick Garland to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in March 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia.

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Merrick Garland grew up in the northern Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood.

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Merrick Garland's mother Shirley was a director of volunteer services at Chicago's Council for Jewish Elderly .

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Merrick Garland was raised in Conservative Judaism, the family name having been changed from Garfinkel several generations earlier.

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Merrick Garland's grandparents left the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire in the early 20th century, fleeing antisemitic pogroms and seeking a better life for their children in the United States.

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Merrick Garland is a second cousin of six-term Iowa Governor and former Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.

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Merrick Garland attended Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, where he was president of the student council, acted in theatrical productions, and was a member of the debate team.

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Merrick Garland initially wanted to become a physician, but soon decided to become a lawyer instead.

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Merrick Garland allied himself with his future boss, Jamie Gorelick, when he was elected the only freshman member of a campus-wide committee on which Gorelick served.

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At Harvard, Merrick Garland wrote news articles and theater reviews for the Harvard Crimson and worked as a Quincy House tutor.

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Merrick Garland wrote his 235-page honors thesis on industrial mergers in Britain in the 1960s.

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Merrick Garland then attended Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review.

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Merrick Garland ran for the presidency of the Law Review but lost to Susan Estrich, so he served as an articles editor instead.

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Merrick Garland mostly practiced corporate litigation, and was made a partner in 1985.

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Merrick Garland acted as counsel to an insurance company suing to reinstate an unpopular automatic seat belt mandate.

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Merrick Garland published an article in the Yale Law Journal urging a broader application of antitrust immunity to state and local governments.

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In 1993, Merrick Garland joined the new Clinton administration as deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.

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In that role, Merrick Garland's responsibilities included the supervision of high-profile domestic-terrorism cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing, Ted Kaczynski, and the Atlanta Olympics bombings.

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Merrick Garland insisted on being sent to Oklahoma City in the aftermath of the attack, in order to examine the crime scene and oversee the investigation in preparation for the prosecution.

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Merrick Garland represented the government at the preliminary hearings of the two main defendants, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

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Merrick Garland offered to lead the trial team, but could not because he was needed at the Justice Department headquarters.

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Merrick Garland won praise for his work on the case from the Republican Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating.

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Merrick Garland served as co-chair of the administrative law section of the District of Columbia Bar from 1991 to 1994.

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Merrick Garland is a member of the American Law Institute.

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In 2003, Merrick Garland was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers, completing the unexpired term of Deval Patrick, who had stepped down from the board.

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Justice Brennan, for whom Merrick Garland clerked, recommended Merrick Garland for the position in a letter to Clinton.

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In Senate confirmation hearings Merrick Garland said that the Supreme Court justices whom he most admired were Justice Brennan, for whom he clerked, and Chief Justice John Marshall.

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Merrick Garland expressed admiration for the writing style of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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The majority of Republican senators voted to confirm Merrick Garland, including Senators John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Susan Collins, and Jim Inhofe.

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Merrick Garland continued to serve as an active member of the court.

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Merrick Garland has been described by Nina Totenberg and Carrie Johnson of NPR as "a moderate liberal, with a definite pro-prosecution bent in criminal cases".

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For example, in In re Aiken County, Merrick Garland dissented when the court issued mandamus ordering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to process the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository license.

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Merrick Garland has taken a broad view of whistleblower protection laws, such as the False Claims Act, which creates a private cause of action against those defrauding the federal government.

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Yesudian v Howard University, Garland wrote for the court in holding that a plaintiff alleging he had been fired by Howard University for whistleblowing could sue under the FCA for retaliation.

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In July 2011, Merrick Garland wrote for the unanimous panel when it rejected Guantanamo detainee Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alawi's petition for habeas corpus.

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In Parhat v Gates, Garland wrote for a panel that unanimously overturned the Combatant Status Review Tribunal's determination that a captured Uyghur was an enemy combatant.

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Merrick Garland wrote that the suit should be allowed to proceed because "no act of Congress and no judicial precedent" immunized the contractors from tort liability, the Federal Tort Claims Act specifically excludes contractors, and tort liability would not interfere with government operations.

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In Cause of Action v FTC, Garland wrote for a panel unanimously overturning the agency's limitation on FOIA fee waivers to large news outlets.

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In Lee v Department of Justice, Garland dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc after the D C Circuit affirmed the district court's order holding reporters in contempt of court for refusing to testify about their anonymous sources during the Wen Ho Lee investigation.

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Merrick Garland found the regulation to be facially overbroad and not narrowly tailored.

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In cases involving campaign finance reform laws, Garland has applied Citizens United v Federal Election Commission when he believed that he was compelled to do so, but he has not sought to extend its holding.

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In Wagner v Federal Election Commission, Garland wrote for the unanimous en banc D C Circuit in upholding a prohibition on campaign contributions from federal contractors because of the governmental interest in preventing corruption.

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In National Association of Manufacturers v Taylor, Garland wrote for the court in a decision upholding the constitutionality of lobbyist disclosure requirements under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.

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In 2002, Merrick Garland joined a unanimous court in ruling for two federal prisoners who were denied the right to consume communion wine.

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In 2010, Merrick Garland wrote the decision for a unanimous court in favor of an Interior Department employee who brought a religious-discrimination claim after the Interior Department refused to allow her to work weekdays rather than Sunday, when she wished to attend church and Bible study.

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In 2007, Garland voted in favor of en banc review of the D C Circuit's panel decision in Parker v District of Columbia invalidating the D C handgun ban.

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Merrick Garland joined parts of a plurality opinion written by Judge Laurence Silberman that upheld the juvenile curfew under intermediate scrutiny and a vagueness challenge.

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Merrick Garland was considered twice to fill vacated seats on the United States Supreme Court in 2009 and 2010, before finally being nominated in 2016 by President Barack Obama for the seat left vacant by the death of conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

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In 2009, following the announcement by Justice David Souter that he would retire, Merrick Garland was considered as one of nine finalists for the post, which ultimately went to Sonia Sotomayor, then a judge of the Second Circuit.

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In early March 2016, The New York Times reported that Merrick Garland was being vetted by the Obama Administration as a potential nominee.

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Under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate's Republican majority refused to consider Merrick Garland's nomination, holding "no hearings, no votes, no action whatsoever" on the nomination.

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McConnell's categorical refusal to hold hearings on Merrick Garland's nomination was described by political scientists and legal scholars as unprecedented, McConnell's choice to lead a Republican blockade of the nomination was described as a "culmination of [his] confrontational style, " and an example of constitutional hardball.

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In Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, Merrick Garland vowed to oversee vigorous prosecution of those who stormed the United States Capitol, and other domestic extremists, drawing on his experience prosecuting the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing.

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Merrick Garland affirmed that the Justice Department would remain independent under his leadership.

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Merrick Garland rescinded a Trump administration policy that curtailed DOJ investigations into police department misconduct and restricted the use of consent decrees to reform police departments.

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In October 2021, amid a surge of threats against school board members across the country, Merrick Garland issued a memorandum addressing an "increase in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff"; the memo directed the FBI and US attorneys' offices to set up meetings with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders for establishing tiplines for threat reporting and discussing strategies to address such threats.

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Memo prompted criticism from Republicans in the House and Senate, who accused Merrick Garland of treating parents like domestic terrorists, although the memo did not mention either terrorism or parents.

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Seventeen Republican state attorneys general led by Todd Rokita, and numerous House Republicans, separately wrote to Biden and Merrick Garland requesting the memorandum be immediately withdrawn.

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In June 2021, Merrick Garland pledged to double the department's enforcement staff for protecting the right to vote, in response to Republican Party efforts to restrict voting following the 2020 presidential election, The same month, Merrick Garland announced a DOJ lawsuit against the state of Georgia over its newly passed restrictions on voting; the DOJ complaint said that the state targeted Black Americans in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Merrick Garland told lawmakers that the Justice Department "will apply the facts and the law and make a decision" when considering a criminal contempt referral for Bannon.

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Merrick Garland took part in the ceremony when his daughter Rebecca married Xan Tanner in June 2018.

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Merrick Garland is partially colorblind, so he uses a list to match his suits and ties.

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