3 things to know about Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland.

Last month, President Obama penned a guest editorial for SCOTUSblog about the responsibility he has as president to nominate a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

In his words, he was looking for "an independent mind, rigorous intellect, impeccable credentials, and a record of excellence and integrity."


This morning, the president announced Merrick Garland as his nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

After making shortlists in President Obama's past Supreme Court replacements (which eventually went to Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagen), it's finally Garland's time to shine. However, going from nominated to confirmed won't exactly be an easy task, as prominent Republican Senators have pledged to block anybody Obama nominates.

President Obama is flanked by VP Joe Biden and nominee Merrick Garland. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Who is Merrick Garland? Here are three things to know about the man who might soon be weighing in on important constitutional issues:

1. He's a 63-year-old chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Let's start with the basics. He's 63. He graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude and became a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals after being nominated to the circuit court by President Bill Clinton (twice, in 1995 and 1997 when he was confirmed by the Senate).

As the name suggests, appellate courts hear appeals of rulings from the lower circuit court. The Supreme Court hears certain appeals from the lower appellate court.


2. As a prosecutor, Garland oversaw two high profile cases of domestic terrorism.

During his time as principal associate deputy attorney general, Garland was given the responsibility of overseeing the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, that resulted in the death of 168 people. And up until his appointment to the Court of Appeals, he supervised the prosecution of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

While Garland hasn't been vocal about a stance on capital punishment, it should be noted that McVeigh was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Kaczynski is currently serving eight life sentences.


Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is escorted by police and FBI. Photo by Bob Daemmerich/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Perhaps more importantly, Garland appeals to people on all sides of the political spectrum.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who served on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995 until 2005, has praised Garland on a number of occasions. During 1997 hearings for Garland's current spot on the appeals court, Hatch said, "I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this (the Clinton) administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list."

"I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of [Senate] votes, and I will do my best to help him get them." Garland's confirmation to the appeals court passed the Senate by a vote of 76-23 with overwhelming bipartisan support (43 Democrats, 23 Republicans).

Sen. Hatch during a 2013 Senate Finance Committee hearing. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

More recently, Hatch told Conservative site Newsmax that he'd support Garland for the Supreme Court, but doubted President Obama would nominate someone so moderate.

"The president told me several times he’s going to name a moderate [to fill the court vacancy], but I don’t believe him," he told Newsmax. "[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man. He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election."

So what comes next for Merrick Garland? That's up to the Senate, who will hopefully at least hold confirmation hearings.

The Senate's role in confirming judges is that they are to offer "advice and consent." A tweet from Senator Mike Lee doesn't come with a whole lot of hope.


But hopefully cooler heads will prevail, and the Senate will take up their constitutional duty of working with the president to replace Justice Scalia. But as President Obama concluded today's announcement, "I have fulfilled my constitutional duty.Now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs."

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Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

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A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic and it feels like disinformation and denial have spread as quickly as the virus itself. Unfortunately, disinformation and denial during a pandemic is deadly. Literally. People who refuse to accept the reality we're living in, who go about daily life as if nothing unusual were happening, who won't wear a mask or keep their distance from people, are preventing communities from being able to keep the pandemic under control—with very real consequences.

An ER nurse in South Dakota shared her experience treating COVID patients—some of whom refuse to believe they have COVID—and it's really shocking. One might think that the virus would become real to people if they were directly affected by it, but apparently that's just not true for some. As Jodi Doering wrote on Twitter:

"I have a night off from the hospital. As I'm on my couch with my dog I can't help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don't believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don't have COViD because it's not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can't stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn't going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It's like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There's no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again."

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While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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