Merrick Garland

“We must make sure that there is a justice system that works

and follows the Constitution and that resolves the issues in an

appropriate way. That’s what judges are supposed to do –

make sure that they are faithful to the Constitution, faithful to

the law, and have the people’s trust that if they come before

a judge they will get an honest hearing and that the case will be

resolved by the law and not by some extraneous factor such as

politics, religion, race, or anything else.”

                                                  – Judge Merrick Garland

By Caitlin Clay 

Merrick Garland (ΦBK, Harvard University, 1972) is currently the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served the Court of Appeals for 19 years and became Chief Judge in February 2013.

On March 16, Garland was nominated by President Barack Obama to fill the Supreme Court’s vacant position after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Before being nominated by President Obama, Garland was twice considered for the Supreme Court, in 2009 and 2010.

Garland began his career as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice Brennan of the US Supreme Court. In 1979, he was named special assistant to Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti. Two years later, Garland went into private practice as an associate with the law firm Arnold and Palmer, where his primary focus was on corporate litigation. In 1985, he was made a partner in the firm. 

Garland later returned to public service as an Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. As a line prosecutor, Garland experienced many different kinds of trials, from drug trafficking to public official corruption charges. From 1992 to 1993, Garland briefly returned to Arnold and Palmer, but afterwards became deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice. A year later he became principal deputy. 

Garland is best known to the public for his significant role in prosecuting the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber bombing, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing. 

Born November 13, 1952, in Chicago, Garland grew up in Lincolnwood, Illinois, as the only child of a devout Jewish family. While in high school, he was a member of the debate team, president of the student council, and an actor in several theatrical productions. He was valedictorian of his graduating class, as well as a National Merit Scholar and Presidential Scholar. 

Wile attending Harvard University for his undergraduate degree, Garland wrote news articles and theater reviews for the Harvard Crimson. He graduated as valedictorian from Harvard in 1974 with a bachelor’s in social studies. Afterwards, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude with a doctor of law degree in 1977.

Caitlin Clay is a senior at the University of Dallas majoring in Art History. She is most interested in studying and researching Modern and Contemporary Art. The University of Dallas is home to the Eta of Texas Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.