UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: As sadly expected, Republicans have wasted little time in doing the exact opposite of what voters should expect from them. Senate Majority Leader and part-time turtle impersonator Mitch McConnell has accused Obama of simply doing his job, reaffirming that Garland—or any nominee—will not be considered. Paul Ryan, in his own statement, said that "the American people" should decide "the direction of the court."
UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: During his announcement from the Rose Garden, President Barack Obama urged Republicans to take their positions in the governmental process seriously. "[Justices] safeguard our rights," Obama told reporters. "This is not a responsibility that I take lightly." Noting that a decision of this magnitude requires setting aside "narrow politics," Obama introduced D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland with high praise.
Garland, Obama says, is widely regarded as one of the "sharpest legal minds" who serves the country with "a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness, and excellence." Obama asserted that Garland has earned the respect of members of both competing parties, a reality he hopes will unify the government following his nomination. Referencing Garland's work in the prosecution of Oklahoma City bombing mastermind Timothy McVeigh, Obama commended Garland's method of "taking no chances" in assuring justice.
"People respect Merrick’s deep and abiding passion for protecting our constitutional rights," Obama said. Obama believes Garland has done that work "with a common touch," again stating the seriousness of his nomination decision. "I recognize that we have entered the political season," Obama said. "But to go down that path would be wrong. It would be a betrayal of our best traditions and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents."
After thanking Obama for the kind words, Garland called the nomination one of "the greatest honors" of his life. "My family deserves much of the credit for the path that left me here," Garland said. "I know that my mother is watching this on television and crying her eyes out." Garland also echoed Obama's sentiments regarding the urgency of allowing the nomination to receive a final confirmation, noting that "personal views and preferences" must be set aside in the name of fairness.
UPDATE 10:06 a.m.: Obama is expected to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, CNN’s congressional sources confirmed moments before his Rose Garden announcement.
See original story below.
President Barack Obama has made his decision as to who will fill the Supreme Court seat left behind by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, saying in a statement that the announcement will come early Wednesday. "As president, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I—or any president—will make," Obama said in a statement obtained by the New York Times. "In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job."
Adding that he’s hopeful that "our senators will do their jobs," Obama is clearly aware of Republicans' public promises to block any nominee from Obama in an attempt to delay the nomination until the two-term POTUS has exited the White House. If that sounds like a downright childish attempt at blocking what is someone’s "constitutional duty," as Obama said in his statement, then you’re absolutely right: the GOP is testing the nation’s patience with their refusal to participate in even the most basic of governmental functions.
White House officials have declined to offer any hints as to who exactly Obama has chosen, though many have speculated with a fair amount of accuracy. Earlier this month, NPR reported that Obama interviewed five potential nominees and walked away with three "leading contenders." Chief Judge Merrick Garland (District of Columbia), Judge Sri Srinivasan (District of Columbia), and Judge Paul Watford (San Francisco) are believed to make up POTUS’ shortlist.
Obama is expected to reveal his pick at 11 a.m. on Wednesday during a Rose Garden ceremony.