Merrick Garland

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As my parents taught me by both words and deeds, a life of public service is as much a gift to the person who serves as it is to those he is serving.

Merrick Garland (born November 13, 1952) is an American federal judge who is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served on that court since 1997. President Obama nominated Garland to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, but then the nomination was expired, and he went back to being a Chief Judge.

Quotes[edit]

Note: All quotes have secondary sources where they were excerpted and then re-cited by subsequent sources.

Confirmation hearing on nomination to United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1995)[edit]

The role of the court is to apply law to the facts of the case before it … not to legislate, not to arrogate to itself the executive power, not to hand down advisory opinion on the issues of the day.
  • The constitution sets all three branches out as co-equal. The obligation of the judicial branch — as far back as the decision in Marbury v. Madison — is to review the constitutionality and legality of actions by the other branches. And that is its only job, to decide cases and controversies in front of it under article three.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:
  • Well, of course I have great personal affection for the justice for whom I clerked, Justice Brennan.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:
  • I would say the one for which — the most admiration, is the one I just mentioned, Justice John Marshall, Chief Justice John Marshall who decided Marbury v. Madison and so deciding established that the constitution is the supreme law of the land.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:
  • Everybody, I think, who hopes to become a judge would aspire to be able to write as well as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. None are going to be able to attain that. But I’ll try at least — if confirmed to be as brief and pithy as he is.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:
  • The great joy of being a prosecutor is that you don’t take whatever case walks in the door. You evaluate the case, you make your best judgement, you only go forward if you believe that the defendant is guilty. You may well be wrong, but you have done your best to ensure that as far as the evidence that you are able to attain, the person is guilty. It is the kind of even-handed balancing that a judge should undertake although of course a judge has the advantage of having somebody speak for the other side.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:
  • I think there is no greater job anybody can have than having been a prosecutor.
    • Merrick Garland (December 1, 1995). "Confirmation hearing on nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". United States Senate. ; quote excerpted in:

Court opinions and media comments[edit]

DC Circuit Court Judge Panel, JRCLS International Law Conference (2013)[edit]

  • They tell you in Washington, that if you want a friend get a dog. Harry Truman said that. That is not true. Get a family. This is a hard place to be. No matter how much honor you have, people will attack you one way or the other. And the principle solace that you get is from your family. Because they’re behind you no matter what happens. So never forget about that. Whatever interests you have in your career, you have to balance it with a deep relationship with your family.
  • For myself the balance came from always driving my children to school. So that every day we had that first half-hour, 45 minutes of nothing but uninterrupted time. Sometimes it was just a bunch of sarcasm. Sometimes it was just listening to the radio. But sometimes it was real explanation of what the kids were thinking what they were worried about.
  • The most important thing that a clerk can do for a judge, I tell my clerks, is to prevent me from jumping off the cliff if I don’t want to. That is, sometimes I don’t realize there’s a cliff there at all, that the implications of what I’m doing are really totally wrong, and that sometimes it takes another person or two other people to warn me that you’re just not reading this case correctly, or you’re just not understanding the implications of what a decision in this way would be.”

Remarks by Judge Garland upon nomination to Supreme Court of the United States (2016)[edit]

Trust that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship is what, in a large part, distinguishes this country from others.

Quotes about Garland[edit]

Mr. Garland seems to be well qualified and would probably make a good judge -- in some other court. — Chuck Grassley


  • I have very high regard for his intellect and his decency.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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