Margaret Flowers' Statement on the Confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court

On February 24, I issued my position on what kind of Supreme Court nominee we need. I called for a nominee "with a strong history of working for the public interest, civil rights or human rights to the Supreme Court." 

When I apply that standard to the nominee announced today by President Obama - the chief judge of the DC Court of Appeals Merrick Garland - he does not pass that test. 

If I were serving in the United States Senate I would support moving forward with the nomination with hearings and a vote on the Senate floor, but I would be strongly inclined to vote against the confirmation of Judge Garland. New information would have to come up during Senate proceedings in order for me to vote to confirm him.

There are a number of decisions that Judge Garland has made that disturb me, but the one that has me currently opposing his confirmation is his ruling that the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay have no legal rights. This decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court one year later. The lack of recognition of due process and civil and human rights for these prisoners is not the kind of leadership the U.S. needs on the Supreme Court.

We are in an era of expanding powers of the U.S. security state - from police violence primarily against non-whites, to mass incarceration, drone killings and mass surveillance. We need a justice who will reduce the power of the security state in order to protect human rights. Judge Garland failed to do so when presented with the question of whether Guantanamo prisoners had any legal rights.

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