As the country waits to hear President Obama make his official Supreme Court nomination on Wednesday, multiple news outlets have said that Merrick Garland is the likely choice. Although he didn't get the initial attention that Jane Kelly or Sri Srinivasan did, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia made the president's short list, and may actually make it to the highest court in the land. But with reproductive rights one of the most controversial issues facing the Supreme Court, many are wondering: Is Merrick Garland pro-choice?
The answer isn't immediately clear. As noted by Tom Goldstein on SCOTUS Blog in 2010, when Garland was also considered a possible Supreme Court nominee (then-Solicitor-General Elena Kagan ultimately was nominated and confirmed), "Because the D.C. Circuit's caseload is dominated by regulatory challenges, few of the cases in which Judge Garland participated involve hot-button social issues like abortion or the death penalty." USA Today's Richard Wolf echoed that same sentiment on Wednesday, noting that the nature of cases that Garland faced didn't offer significant insight into his views on abortion. "During 19 years at the D.C. Circuit, Garland has managed to keep a low profile. The court's largely administrative docket has left him without known positions on issues such as abortion or the death penalty," he wrote.
What is clearer is that Garland is a more moderate option, one that appears to be part of Obama's efforts to appease Republicans insisting on digging in their heels to block any nominee. Considered a centrist by many, Garland may be the option that's too hard for Republicans to refuse.