[JURIST] President Barrack Obama’s [official website] nomination of Judge Merrick Garland [BBC profile] to the US Supreme Court expired on Tuesday following the formal adjournment of the 114th Congress [materials]. The refusal to grant Garland a proper hearing has been regarded [WSJ report] as an injustice against the Obama administration. Republicans, however, have praised Congress’ inaction, stating that the Supreme Court’s available seat should be addressed by the recently elected president and Senate members. With the Republicans holding a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, it is expected that President-elect Donald Trump’s [official website] Supreme Court nomination will be supported. Garland will return to his judicial position in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and will resume hearing cases on January 18.
Obama nominated [JURIST report] Garland, Chief Judge of the DC Circuit, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court in March. Garland was appointed to the DC Circuit in 1997 by Bill Clinton and became Chief Judge in February 2013. Republican senators had pledged to block any nomination by Obama, arguing that since it was an election year, the American people had a say [SCOTUSblog op-ed] in the process by voting in the then-upcoming presidential election. In November a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] attempting to force Congress to vote on the confirmation of Garland’s nomination. Prior to the election, Samford University law professor William Ross wrote [JURIST op-ed] about the importance of potential Supreme Court nominations during election years.