When 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last month, the vacancy left on the high court created an instant political firestorm, with President Obama pledging to nominate a successor, while the Republican-controlled Senate vowed not to even consider an Obama nominee.
On Wednesday, Obama made good on his promise to nominate a new justice, tapping Washington D.C. Circuit Court chief Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy.
It is unclear if Garland will receive a hearing before the presidential election in November.
Garland, who is Jewish, was chosen for his current position by Bill Clinton to fill the vacancy of Abner Mikva. Much like today, Garland’s nomination was blocked by a Republican Senate, with nearly a year and a half between his appointment and confirmation.
Appointed by President Clinton in 1995, the Senate delayed vote on Garland’s nomination until after the 1996 US Presidential election. Following Clinton’s reelection, the Senate approved Garland by a margin of 76-23 in March, 1997.