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Obama’s SCOTUS pick is ‘plausibly confirmable’ nominee, expert says

The qualifications of President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee are so strong that it will place pressure on Republicans in the U.S. Senate to hold a confirmation vote, said a constitutional law expert in Duke’s School of Law.

On Wednesday, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to fill the court seat left vacant by last month’s death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I cannot think of a Democratic president's Supreme Court nominee whose ideological centrism makes him more plausibly confirmable by a Republican Senate than Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” says Duke law professor Neil Siegel. “Nor can I think of a nominee more objectively qualified, experienced and respected across party lines than Chief Judge Garland.” 

“The president has executed his constitutional responsibilities. Now it is time for the Senate to hold hearings and vote on the nomination. Everyone has a stake in ensuring both that the court functions properly and that norms of Senate conduct do not unravel to the point where it becomes politically impossible to confirm any nominee unless the same party controls both the White House and the Senate.”

Siegel, served as special counsel to Sen. Joseph R. Biden during the confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts and Samuel A. Alito, and clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the October 2003 term.