West Virginia University Assistant Professor of Political Science Patrick Hickey believes that it is very likely that President Barack Obama will be able to win Senate approval of his nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the vacancy left in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

Garland, 63, is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A former prosecutor, he is viewed as a moderate.

“History suggests that President Obama will be able to replace Justice Scalia as long as the president nominates a well-qualified, relatively moderate candidate,” Hickey said. “That said, there’s a first time for everything. The historically high level of polarization in today’s Senate makes it possible that we will see new, irregular behavior from Senate Republicans on this matter.”

Hickey’s works focuses on how presidents work with Congress. Hickey recently co-authored a chapter for the Miller Center of Public Affair’s book 42: Inside the Presidency of Bill Clinton.

Senate Republicans have said they will not consider an Obama nominee. John Taylor is a professor in the WVU College of Law and believes if this holds true, the Court will be operating at less than full strength for more than a year. “This is far from ideal, and historically it would be an unusually long vacancy,” Taylor said

They are among several WVU faculty members who can offer comment and analysis. Patrick Hickey can be reached at 304.293.9575 or Patrick.Hickey@mail.wvu.edu John Taylor can be reached at 304.293.8180 or John.Taylor@mail.wvu.edu

Others include:

Robert Bastress, the John W. Fisher II Professor of Law at the WVU College of Law, is a constitutional law expert. He can be reached at 304.293.5308 or Robert.Bastress@mail.wvu.edu

Scott Crichlow, chair of the WVU Department of Political Science, can be reached at 304.293.3198 or by email at scott.crichlow@mail.wvu.edu

Shauna Fisher is an associate professor of political science at WVU whose focus of study includes judicial politics, law and courts, and judicial policy-making. She can be reached at 304.293.9804 or sffisher@mail.wvu.edu

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



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