Unlike several other possible candidates to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick B. Garland probably won’t face conservative opposition. Instead, it could be liberals lining up against him.
A small but vocal group of activists is privately saying that Garland is not liberal enough to replace the legendary Stevens, whose opinions defended gay rights and abortion rights and opposed the death penalty. They say Garland is a centrist who won’t champion liberal concerns, too often finds middle ground with his conservative colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and showed great deference to President George W. Bush’s indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Herman Schwartz, an American University law professor and the author of several books on the Supreme Court and conservative judicial activism, said he found Garland’s early acceptance of Bush’s Guantanamo Bay policy “very troubling.”