President Obama names his US Supreme Court nominee

Merrick Garland is described as the "most qualified person to immediately serve on the Supreme Court"

President Obama names his US Supreme Court nominee

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP/Press Association Images

Barack Obama has named Merrick Garland as his nominee for the next US Supreme Court Justice, following the death of Antonin Scalia last month.

In a statement, the White House says "Judge Garland has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history. Born and raised in Illinois and a devoted family man, Judge Garland has dedicated his life to serving the American people, taking on some of the most difficult anti-terrorism cases in our nation’s history".

Judge Garland led the investigation and prosecution that followed the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which ultimately led to the conviction of Timothy McVeigh.

BBC reports that Judge Garland (63) is seen as a moderate that has won support from some Republicans. However, the Republican majority in the Senate has pledged to block any nominee from Mr Obama.

Antonin Scalia (79), who died last month, was known for his strident and often provocative conservative views, and became a deeply divisive figure over the course of his three decades in the Supreme Court.

His death left just eight justices sitting in the US Supreme Court, opening up the possibility of a 4-4 tie on decisions.

President Obama said, "in putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee.

"That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders," he added.