A native of the Chicago area, Garland graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian from Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Garland was 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. Garland practiced corporate litigation at the Arnold & Porter law firm 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 and the unibomber case.
In 1995, Garland was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and (following a delay in Senate confirmation) took the bench in 1997. Barack Obama interviewed Garland in 2009 and 2010 for two openings on the Supreme Court. Conservative Senator Trent Lott led a floor fight to oppose Garland's nomination to the D.C. Circuit in 1997, and 23 senators voted against his confirmation.
Garland served as President of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
On March 16, 2016, Obama nominated Garland to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. On March 19, 2016, Presidential candidate John Kasich said in a Face The Nation interview that he would consider nominating Garland if he were elected President. The next day, he called the television show and told them that he had said that to be polite and that in fact he would not consider Garland for the Supreme Court.
- President Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination. whitehouse.gov. Retrieved on March 20, 2016.
- MERRICK B. GARLAND. Retrieved on March 20, 2016.
- NRA blasts Garland over Second Amendment (March 16, 2016). Retrieved on March 20, 2016.