Supreme Court

Sure Merrick Garland is Qualified But That's Not Enough

Randy Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center says we need to look beyond qualifications to judicial philosophy.


This week President Obama told a crowd in Chicago that his nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, was "indisputably qualified" to serve on the highest court in the land. And nobody really argues otherwise." 

Garland's qualifications have been bandied about a lot ever since his name was mentioned by the President but people like Randy Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center say that is an old way of thinking.

Barnett explains that post New Deal, Democrats and Republicans were all in agreement on the Constitution and so all they needed to look at was a nominee's qualifications. But after Justice Antonin Scalia's nomination there became a fundamental disagreement over what the constitution meant.

"Now qualifications are not enough," says Barnett. "What you need is what Joe Biden used to say you have to look for and that is judicial philosophy."

Barnett says Garland is by all means qualified but has a deference to lawmakers that would be terrible from a libertarian perspective: "As a matter of judicial philosophy, I think he would not be a good justice for us to have."

For more, watch "Randy Barnett: Increasing Freedom Through 'Our Republican Constitution"