CHICAGO (CBS) — President Barack Obama has nominated federal judge Merrick Garland, who was born in Chicago, for the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.
In his announcement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said Garland “is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.”
The president said nominating a successor to Scalia was a responsibility he did not take lightly.
“I said I would take this process seriously, and I did. I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge,” he said.
Garland got a little emotional talking about his nomination.
“My mother is watching this on television and crying her eyes out. So are my sisters who have supported me in every step I have ever taken. I only wish that my father were here to see this today,” he said.
A former federal prosecutor, Garland supervised the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing, which he said helped shape his later career as a judge.
“I saw up close the devastation that can happen when someone abandons the justice system as a way of resolving grievances, and instead takes matters into his own hands,” he said.
Garland has been chief judge of the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals since 2013. He was first appointed to the federal bench in 1997.