Obama to nominate 'neutral judge' Merrick Garland to fill Supreme Court vacancy: reports
Chief Judge Merrick Garland

President Barack Obama will nominate veteran appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, according to multiple media reports.


UPDATE: Obama complicates Senate GOP’s vow to oppose nominee by picking centrist judge Merrick Garland

"Merrick Garland ... has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history," an unnamed White House official told The Hill. "No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court."

Garland, 63, will replace long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of a heart attack at the age of 79 at Cibolo Creek Ranch in West Texas on February 13.

“I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision,” Obama said in an email to the press early Wednesday morning. “I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.”

Garland currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and is viewed as a moderate.

"Judge Garland's record demonstrates that he is essentially the model, neutral judge," Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog explained. "He is acknowledged by all to be brilliant. His opinions avoid unnecessary, sweeping pronouncements."

The New York Times noted that Garland was previously considered for a spot on the Supreme Court -- and received some support from Republicans.

"Because of his position, disposition and bipartisan popularity, Judge Garland has been on Mr. Obama’s shortlist of potential nominees for years," the Times reported. "In 2010, when Mr. Obama interviewed him for the slot that he instead gave to Justice Elena Kagan, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said publicly that he had urged Mr. Obama to nominate Judge Garland as 'a consensus nominee' who would win Senate confirmation."

Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have vowed to block any Supreme Court nominee from Obama.

"In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I'm doing my job," Obama said in the email Wednesday. "I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that's what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders."