WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama encouraged Senate Republicans to give Merrick Garland "the respect he has earned" as he discussed his nomination for U.S. Supreme Court during his weekly address.
The president reinforced his endorsement of Garland and noted his work overseeing federal response to the Oklahoma City bombing early in his career, as well as his 19 years of service on the D.C. Circuit Court.
"On the bench, he's shown a dedication to protecting our basic rights," Obama said Saturday. "A conviction that powerful voices must not be allowed to drown out those of everyday Americans. An understanding that justice isn't simply abstract legal theory -- it affects people's daily lives. And a spirit of decency, modesty, and even-handedness in his work."
Obama said Garland's name was mentioned frequently in conversation by both Democrats and Republicans as he appointed three separate Supreme Court justices throughout his presidency.
"I selected a nominee whose unmatched experience and integrity have earned him the respect and admiration of both parties," Obama.
Obama also addressed potential opposition to his nomination. He reflected on the weight of his duty to appoint new Supreme Court justices and encouraged Republican senators to do the same in "an especially noisy and volatile political season."
"I fulfilled my constitutional duty. Now it's time for senators to do theirs," the president said. "I hope that they take the time to reflect on the importance of this process to our country. I hope that they'll act fairly. And I hope they'll work in a bipartisan fashion to confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. That's how we can uphold our pledge to liberty and justice for all – for our time and for generations to come."