Supreme Court Nominations

15 former ABA presidents call for hearings on Garland


Merrick Garland

Judge Merrick Garland.

Fifteen former presidents of the American Bar Association have written a letter calling for a hearing and vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

In a letter (PDF) to Senate leaders, the former ABA presidents say “there is no election-year exception” to the Senate’s constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent, the Associated Press reports.

The letter says Republicans’ refusal to consider Garland injects politics into the courts and “materially hampers the effective operation” of the judiciary.

The letter also calls Garland “one of the most outstanding judges in the country.” Garland is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The 15 signers were:

• James R. Silkenat, President from 2013 to 2014
• Stephen N. Zack, President from 2010 to 2011
• Carolyn B. Lamm, President from 2009 to 2010
• William H. Neukom, President from 2007 to 2008
• Karen J. Mathis, President from 2006 to 2007
• Michael S. Greco, President from 2005 to 2006
• Dennis W. Archer, President from 2003 to 2004
• Alfred P. Carlton, Jr. , President from 2002 to 2003
• Robert Edward Hirshon, President from 2001 to 2002
• Martha W. Barnett, President from 2000 to 2001
• William G. Paul, President from 1999 to 2000
• Philip S. Anderson, President from 1998 to 1999
• Roberta Cooper Ramo, President from 1995 to 1996
• R. William Ide, III, President from 1994 to 1995
• Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, President from 1991 to 1992.

The current ABA president, Paulette Brown, released a statement in early March when Garland was announced as the nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, urging Congress to “to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities to consider and act promptly on the nominees.”

Updated on April 14 to add a link to the letter and a list of the former ABA presidents who signed it.


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