President Obama, ignoring a vow by the US Senate that it would not vet any Supreme Court nominee he proposes, named federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat vacated by the unexpected death of Antonin Scalia.
Garland was nominated to the US Appeals Court in Washington DC by President Clinton in 1997 and was confirmed by the Senate in a 76-23 vote that included the support of 31 Republicans. Of those, seven are still in the Senate, reports The Washington Post: Dan Coats (Ind.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James M. Inhofe (Okla.), John McCain (Ariz.), and Pat Roberts (Kan.).
Garland, 63, was named Chief Judge in 2013 and is considered a moderate.
A former federal prosecutor who handled at least two high-profile cases — the Unabomber and the Oklahoma City bombing — Garland is graduate of Harvard College and Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court JusticeWilliam Brennan.