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Merrick Garland, the new Supreme Court justice nominated by President Obama

Merrick Garland is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He supervised the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and Unibomber case.

Merrick Garland was born on November 13, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Harvard Law and became Special Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice. In private practice he supervised the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and Unibomber cases. Garland currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Profile

Born Merrick Brian Garland on November 13, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Cyril and Shirley Garland. His father founded Garland Advertising in the city, while his mother became director of volunteer services at the Council for Jewish Elderly. Garland grew up in the upper middle-class suburb of Lincolnwood, Illinois, where he attended Niles West High School. Garland excelled academically, becoming a member of the Presidential Scholars Program and a National Merit Scholar before his graduation in 1970.

Garland attended Harvard College after high school, quickly rising to the top of his class and becoming an editor for The Harvard Law Review. In 1974 he was named valedictorian of his graduating class, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies. He then set his sights on law school, graduating with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law in 1977.

Following his matriculation, Garland clerked for Judge Henry Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. In 1979, Garland was tapped for a position as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice. He served in this capacity until 1981, then entered private practice at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., where his responsibilities included the supervising the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and UNABOM cases. For his efforts, he was named as a partner to the firm in 1985.

Garland left the private sector in 1989 to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. After a brief return to Arnold & Porter in 1992, Garland was named as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was promoted to Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, and served in this capacity until his appointment as U.S. Circuit Judge during the Clinton administration in 1997.

Garland continues to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals, but he has recently come to national attention as a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy that will be left by Justice John Paul Stevens in 2010.

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