Merrick Garland as AG… Is that really the best we can do?

He seems like a nice guy, but is that what we need today?

Michael Greiner
5 min readJan 11, 2021


President Barack Obama nominating Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. By The White House. Wikipedia.

Like most progressives, I nurture an enduring resentment over the theft of Barack Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 2016. I must admit that news of Antonin Scalia’s death took my breath away, and I briefly fantasized about a progressive Supreme Court majority.

Even though Obama nominated DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy in February 2016, a full 269 days prior to the 2016 election, Mitch McConnell and his Republican henchmen refused to grant Garland even a hearing, claiming falsely that a tradition existed of not confirming Supreme Court Justice nominations in an election year. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) even argued, on video,

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” —Sen. Lindsay Graham

Just reading those words again, knowing what actually happened, makes my blood boil again.

It’s especially galling to me that after McConnell blocked the Garland nomination in addition to hundreds of other judicial nominations, he proceeded to assist Trump in appointing three Supreme Court justices, a full third of the Court, including Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy Garland had been nominated for.

Plainly, as a result of McConnell’s intransigence, the Supreme Court now has a 6–3 conservative majority rather than a 5–4 progressive majority. Even though it is outrageous, you have to respect his political skills, and McConnell himself called blocking blocking this nomination his “proudest moment.”

Much as I shared in the outrage of my liberal brethren over the Senate’s treatment of Garland, he was never my dream judge. Indeed, according to reports, he was never the dream judge of…



Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.