Following today’s nomination by President Barack Obama of Judge Merrick Brian Garland, chief judge of the United States Appeal Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy left by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, at least one organization representing Black women has expressed some disappointment in the fact that a Black woman was not nominated.
Garland, 63, is a native of the Chicago area who has served native of the Chicago area who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for 19 years. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States. He also practiced corporate litigation at Arnold & Porter and worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice where he played a leading role in the investigation and prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers.
While on the D.C. Circuit, Garland has developed a reputation as a centrist. President Obama considered Garland for two previous openings on the Supreme Court in 2009 and 2010.
Melanie L. Campbell, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, said in a press release that while the organization appreciates Judge Garland’s qualifications, they are disappointed that the President passed on the opportunity to make an historic and overdue nomination of a Black woman.
“We are pleased that President Obama has fulfilled his Constitutional responsibility by nominating The Honorable Merrick Brian Garland as his choice to fill vacancy left by the untimely passing of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We believe that Judge Garland is eminently qualified and has served the judiciary with honor and distinction,” Campbell said. “As head of the NCBCP and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, we are disappointed and had hoped that an African-American woman would be nominated. We have and will continue to advocate for the next Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by an exceptional Black woman to bring about a balance that ensures the court is more representative of all Americans. We continue to believe it is time for African American women to be represented in all sectors of government–including the U. S. Supreme Court of the United States, which in its 227 year history has not had a Black woman nominated to serve on the highest court in the land.”