Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, will return to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after the Senate chose not to take up his nomination.
After Obama announced his nomination in March, Garland recused himself from most of the D.C. Circuit’s business. He has not participated in cases before the court, nor has he taken up any judicial misconduct claims. As chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, he is responsible with dispensing such matters.
Garland’s return to active duty is essentially his concession that he will not be confirmed. (RELATED: Here Are The Favorites For Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination)
The Senate officially recessed for the year on Dec. 16, effectively ending any chance of confirmation. The body will not reconvene until Jan. 3, at which point Garland would have to be formally renominated by the president.
Senate Republicans successfully stymied his nomination for over nine months. Garland never appeared to answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and most Senate Republicans refused to even meet with him in private, as is typical of high profile judicial nominees.
Though the Supreme Court loomed large in the minds of voters as they cast ballots in November’s general election, Garland was a peripheral force at best on the campaign trail. His stalled nomination was not referenced at all during the Democratic National Convention, while former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton rarely referenced him by name. She also repeatedly telegraphed that she would submit her own candidate to the Senate after taking office, if Republicans declined to confirm Garland before his nomination lapsed.
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