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President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Submits His Questionnaire to the Senate

Chief Judge Merrick Garland submitted his completed questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee today.


Today, consistent with the practice of previous nominees to the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland submitted his completed questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chief Judge Garland submitted the standard questionnaire provided by the Senate Judiciary Committee to judicial nominees as part of their confirmation process, and the Committee has now posted the questionnaire here.

The questionnaire and associated materials submitted by Chief Judge Garland today present a comprehensive picture of his distinguished career and underscore his impeccable credentials as a nominee to the Supreme Court. The questionnaire with answers spans 141 pages and includes 2,066 pages of appendices. It includes key information on Chief Judge Garland’s employment, honors and awards, published writings, litigated cases, judicial opinions, and speeches and interviews.

Having the opportunity to review this questionnaire is critical for the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – and for the American people. The questionnaire is an exhaustive presentation of Chief Judge Garland’s record that makes clear why the Senate should hold a hearing and ultimately confirm him to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court:

  • Extraordinary Qualifications: He has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee and a lengthy record of consensus building, judicial excellence, public service, and academic achievement.
  • Exceptional Record: He has participated in 2,640 merits cases and 357 opinions in nearly two decades on the D.C. Circuit. His record demonstrates he is a careful, balanced judge who follows the law and it is notable that he’s never written an opinion reversed by the Supreme Court.
  • Consensus Builder: His opinions reflect his widely recognized ability to forge consensus among his colleagues on a range of challenging subjects, including national security (Parhat v. Gates; ACLU v. CIA); campaign finance (Wagner, an en banc opinion joined by every judge on the court), civil rights (Anderson v. Zubieta, and Sparrow v. United Air Lines); criminal law (United States v. Gaskins); and federalism (Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton).
  • Follows the Law: His opinions also illustrate his track record of deciding cases based on the law and the facts regardless of the identities of the parties; (Cause of Action v. FTC; ACLU v. CIA); his willingness to dissent on issues of importance involving access to courts (Saleh v. Titan Corp); and a notable instance in which his dissent was vindicated by Congress (United States ex rel. Totten v. Bombardier Corp). 
  • Lifelong Commitment to Public Service: His litigation record reflects a decades-long devotion to public service and an exceptional record of legal achievement, including his role in the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber cases, as well as his involvement in other significant matters including Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of U.S. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins (regarding passive restraints in automobiles) and US v. Kelley (prosecution of USAID official for bribery.
  • Offering Mentorship: He has shared his time and experience with elementary school children as a tutor, with law school students as a speaker about public-minded careers in the law, with his judicial clerks as a role model for a life in public service, and with lawyers and other civic-minded groups about the importance of pro bono legal services and access to the courts.

We expect that upon receiving the questionnaire, Senate Judiciary Committee members will do their jobs by reviewing his record, noticing a hearing so that the American people can hear directly from Chief Judge Garland as he answers questions under oath, and giving him a timely vote. Every nominee since 1875 who wasn't withdrawn from consideration has received a hearing and/or a vote. With more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history and a long record of public service, we expect the Senate will give Chief Judge Garland the same fair consideration as prior nominees. The American people and the integrity of our judicial system deserve nothing less.

You can read Chief Judge Garland's questionnaire here.


Neil Eggleston is White House Counsel to the President.