The first press release announcing the nomination of Merrick Garland to the US Supreme Court was simple: “NOMINATION SENT TO THE SENATE: Merrick B. Garland, of Maryland, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, vice Antonin Scalia, deceased.”

President Obama’s shop asserts that “Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court.”

Maybe so.

Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 76-23 19 years ago, which would seem to bode well. If this were 1997, Garland might be a slam dunk.

However, in 2016, make no mistake: this will be the partisan backdrop of the upcoming campaigns for federal office, as we see with Florida Senate candidates.

Republicans pan the move.

“I strongly oppose President Obama’s decision to blatantly ignore precedent and the will of the American people by putting up a Supreme Court nominee during an election year. This President has proven we cannot trust him to uphold the Constitution, and we cannot trust that a nominee he puts forward will rule in accordance with the Constitution. I encourage Sen. McConnell to continue to stay fast in his usage of the checks and balances of the United States Senate. As Florida’s next United States Senator I will always ensure justice nominees uphold our Constitution in the regard to what our Founding Fathers envisioned,” said Carlos Lopez-Cantera. 

“Let’s be clear about what is at stake here: President Obama has spent seven years trampling on our Constitution – going after gun rights, states’ rights, religious freedom and the privacy rights of each and every American. Today’s nomination sideshow is Obama’s swan song attempt to destroy the basic rights on which this country was founded once and for all. Senators must fight this until the American people have an opportunity to put in place conservatives who, like Justice Scalia, understand the basic principles of liberty and freedom as enshrined in our Constitution by our Founders from this nation’s very beginning,” said Todd Wilcox.

Democrats, meanwhile, laud the nomination.

“Today, President Obama put forward a nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court and it’s time for Senate Republicans to do their job. The Republican obstructionists who have vowed to stop any nominee from even being considered are doing a disservice to the American people — and are betraying the democratic values laid out in our Constitution. Americans are tired of the gridlock in Washington, and in the U.S. Senate I’ll always fight to cut through the dysfunction and get things done for our nation,” asserted Patrick Murphy.

As reactions come in, we will add to this post.

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