LGBT rights groups on Wednesday reacted
positively to President Barack Obama's choice of Judge Merrick
Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court.
Obama announced Garland, currently the
chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as his
nominee during a Rose Garden ceremony.
“I've selected a nominee who is
widely recognized not only as one of America's sharpest legal minds,
but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty,
integrity, even-handedness and excellence,” he said.
Republican leaders stood firm on their
decision not to meet with the nominee. On the Senate floor, Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell completely ruled out Garland.
“The American people may well elect a
president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate
consideration,” McConnell said. “The next president may also
nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give
the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”
LGBT rights groups applauded Obama's
move and called on the Senate to consider Garland.
“Americans deserve a full Supreme
Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing.
There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified
candidate, and the Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to give
him swift and fair consideration,” said Chad Griffin, president of
the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights
advocate. “The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold
the rights of all citizens, and we must hold accountable any
politicians who tamper with our nation’s highest court for their
“The decisions made by the Supreme
Court establish important legal precedents that impact the daily
lives of all Americans, including those who are LGBT,” he added.
LGBT legal group Lambda Legal called on
the Senate Judiciary Committee to “ask comprehensive and probing
questions to evaluate Judge Garland's ability to be a fair and
impartial member of our highest court rather than rejecting his
nomination out-of-hand in partisan fashion, without even a hearing.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) called Garland “superbly qualified” in calling on the
Senate “to do its job and move swiftly to confirm his nomination.”