Biden looks on as Garland steps up to speak after being introduced as Obama’s nominee in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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President Barack Obama nominated veteran appellate court Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, setting up a potentially ferocious political showdown with Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any Obama nominee.Obama said Wednesday that if Senate Republicans refused to carry out their constitutional function to consider Garland's nomination, the reputation of the Supreme Court and faith in the American justice system would suffer.Standing in between Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during the Rose Garden ceremony, Garland told Obama it was a great privilege to be nominated to the high court by a fellow Chicagoan.Obama's nominee could tilt the court to the left for the first time in decades.Garland was under consideration by Obama when he filled two prior high court vacancies.Presidents tend to pick nominees younger than Garland, so they can serve for decades and extend a president's legacy. But Obama may reason that the choice of an older nominee might also entice Senate Republicans into considering Obama's selection.
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