President Barack Obama announced this morning that he will nominate Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, elevating the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to the highest court in the land.
Locals will remember one of Garland’s most famous rulings: the 2-1 decision against D.C. in the Alexander v. Daley case in March 2000, which sought to extend full voting rights in Congress to District residents. The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling without a hearing seven months later.
Garland and Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly fashioned their ruling along narrow lines, arguing that the case was a political problem instead of a constitutional one.
“Many courts have found a contradiction between the democratic ideals upon which this country was founded and the exclusion of District residents from congressional representation. All, however, have concluded that it is the Constitution and judicial precedent that create the contradiction,” the opinion read.
Judge Louis Oberdorfer minced few words in his dissent.
“A republican, that is representative, form of government is a keystone in the Constitution’s structure, a keystone hewn directly from the Declaration of Independence. The denial of representation was one of the provocations that generated the declaration and the war that implemented it,” he wrote.
You can read the full text of the decision here.