Lawyers, Lawmakers and Others Welcome Obama Nominee for the Supreme Court

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Washington, DC – Lawyers and lawmakers of Indian heritage joined others to welcome as President Barack Obama on March 16 announced federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland as his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Deviating from his style of seven years stoking the federal courts with women and minorities and now again with the opportunity to nominate the court’s first Asian American, third African American or fifth woman in history, Obama decided to go for his native from Chicago.

“President Obama honored his Oath to support & defend the Constitution by nominating a legal luminary – Merrick Brian Garland to J. Scalia’s seat. The Senate must give the nominee a fair hearing, as part of its Advise & Consent Clause obligation,” said Attorney Ravi Batra, Chairman of National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs, and former member of NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

“While I would have loved to have Sri nominated, to pay down America’s debt of honor to India from Boston Tea Party in 1773 going forward, still CJ Garland, with a longer life, actually has a longer and more documented history of dedicated public service and is an honor to our Republic that he has been so nominated,” added Batra.

Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden said in a statement, “President Obama nominated a well-qualified candidate to serve as the next Supreme Court justice and bring the Court back to full strength as it weighs key issues facing Americans. Merrick Garland has a strong history as chief judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit after being confirmed in 1997 by a bipartisan 76-23 vote, a more conventional confirmation process than promised by today’s obstruction.”

Supporting the nomination of Chief Judge Garland, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) said in its statement, “While SALDEF called on President Obama to nominate the first Asian American Supreme Court Justice, we realize the profound statement Sri Srinivasan made as the first Asian American in history to make it to a President’s “short list.” SALDEF wholeheartedly supports President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Garland, we are encouraged by the consideration of Judge Srinivasan, and we eagerly await the first Asian American Supreme Court Justice.”

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged, “Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to fulfill their constitutional duties, hold hearings, and quickly bring this nominee up for a vote – the exact same things they called for in 2008 when President Bush nominated judges that were then confirmed by a Democratic Senate.”

Indian American Congressman Ami Bera echoed her voice as he tweeted, “@POTUS rightfully fulfilled his constitutional duty by nominating #SCOTUS justice. Now it’s time for Senate to fulfill its responsibility.”

But defining the party line viewpoints, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) disagreed saying, “This issue is not about any single nominee – it’s about the integrity of the Court. With less than a year left in a lame-duck presidency and the long-term ideological balance of the Supreme Court at stake, I believe the American people must have a voice in the direction of the Supreme Court by electing a new president.”

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