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Garland Would Be Most Significant Shift on Court Since Thomas Replaced Marshall

No surprise that the biggest news in the legal world is Merrick Garland's nomination by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. The Republicans in U.S. Senate are refusing to even give a hearing to Garland, who is the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

But in the unlikely event that Garland gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, Robert Barnes, writing for the Washington Post, observes that replacing the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia with Garland "would be the most significant shift on the Supreme Court since Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 to replace the liberal civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall."

Scholars project that Garland would be to the right of the court's liberals and would join Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is to the left of the court's conservatives, in the center of the court.

Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, told The Post, “'Chief Judge Garland’s jurisprudence is the epitome of centrist, case-by-case adjudication — not because he lacks deep methodological commitments, but because he’s never been prone to go out of his way to wax philosophical about those commitments. He has a remarkable dearth of separate opinions, and even his majority opinions tend to be fairly efficient, technical resolutions of the legal questions before him.”'