Following news that President Obama is nominating the Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth released the following statement about the nominee and his positions vis-à-vis transparency and accountability.
“As Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland in 2013 instituted a well-received same-day audio policy that allowed media and the public to access oral argument audio online by 3 p.m. on the day of a hearing, while the Supreme Court sadly waits until Fridays for its audio releases. From an accountability perspective, the advantages of a 63-year-old nominee – as opposed to, say, a 49-year-old one – are clear, as an older nominee will more likely serve a shorter or fixed term and not remain on the bench for three decades like his predecessor, a length of service that is a more feudal than democratic and a far cry from what our founders intended.
“One concern good government advocates may have is that Garland is a member of the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which is notorious for halting pro-transparency efforts, from its decision yesterday not to expand its cameras-in-courts pilot program to its insistence on releasing judges’ disclosure reports by paper and not online like the other branches.