Merrick Garland is a superb nomination by President Barack Obama to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit is a moderate who is widely respected by both Democrats and Republicans for his integrity, judgment, intellect and basic decency.
It would be irresponsible for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to withhold consideration of Garland's nomination for strictly political reasons.
Nearly 65 percent of Americans support the call for the U.S. Senate to hold hearings on the nomination. The failure to proceed only furthers the destructive gridlock that has sadly marked Congress' work during Obama's tenure in the Oval Office.
Current Chief Justice John Roberts who served with Garland on the D.C. Court of Appeals, previously said this about Obama's nominee: "Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you are in a difficult area."
Garland was supported by a majority of Democrats and Republicans when he was nominated by President Bill Clinton for the federal appeals court in 1997 and confirmed by the Senate by a 76-23 vote. Seven of those GOP senators still serve in the Senate.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who was one of those Republicans senators who voted to confirm Garland, has previously urged Obama to nominate Garland for the Supreme Court, saying "He would be very well supported by both sides."
Hatch now argues that the Senate shouldn't consider any nomination until after the 2016 presidential election for fear of adding to the current polarized climate. But that approach will only drive Republicans and Democrats further apart.
As one of the older nominees to the Supreme Court, the 63-year-old Garland has a long track record of achievement. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and joined the Justice Department as a prosecutor after a successful tenure with the prestigious law firm of Arnold & Porter.
Garland received high marks for the thorough, manner in which he handled three high-profile cases: the drug investigation of then-Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the 1995 investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1996 arrest and prosecution of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
Obama's sensible choice of the moderate Garland makes clear that if Republicans refuse to hold hearings on his nomination, it is simply because GOP senators don't want Obama to fulfill his constitutional duty to appoint Scalia's successor.
The nomination of Merrick Garland deserves consideration from the Senate in a timely manner. And, assuming things are as they seem, he should be confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court.