Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland Biography.com

Judge, Lawyer(1952–)
Merrick Garland is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He supervised the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber cases.

Synopsis

Merrick Garland was born on November 13, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Harvard Law and became special assistant to the U.S. attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice, before entering private practice in Washington, D.C. Garland joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1993, where he supervised the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber cases, before being confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997. In March 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Early Life & Education

Born Merrick Brian Garland on November 13, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Cyril and Shirley Garland. His father founded Garland Advertising in Chicago, while his mother became director of volunteer services at the Council for Jewish Elderly. His parents instilled in him the value that service to the community is a responsibility of all. Garland grew up in the upper-middle-class suburb of Lincolnwood, Illinois, where he attended Niles West High School. He 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 graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Social Studies in 1974. He then set his sights on law school, became an editor for the Harvard Law Review and graduated with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law in 1977. 

Career

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 named special assistant to the U.S. attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice. He served in this capacity until 1981, when he entered private practice at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. Garland was named partner in 1985, and after leaving in 1989 to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, he briefly returned to Arnold & Porter in 1992. 

Garland joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as deputy assistant attorney general in 1993. Promoted to principal associate deputy attorney general, he supervised the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols for the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as Ted Kaczynski in the Unabomber case. He was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1995, although he wasn't confirmed until being renominated in 1997.

Garland continues to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals, but he came to national attention when he was considered a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy when Justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010. Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, President Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court.

Merrick Garland official portrait

(Photo: U.S. Court of Appeals)

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