The claim: Donald Trump revoked Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination when he became president
FBI agents searched for ex President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Aug. 8 as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed classified White House documents upon leaving office.
A few days after the search, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that “personally approved” the decision to apply for a search warrant. Some social media users claim that Garland’s alleged history with Trump may have influenced that decision.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland approved an FBI raid on the former president who personally revoked his Supreme Court nomination when he won the presidency.” read a facebook post shared on August 9 by radio host Ben Ferguson.
But legal experts told USA TODAY that Trump had no direct role in Garland’s failed nomination to the high court.
President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016. However, Republican senators said they would not consider Garland because they wanted the next president-elect to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, according to news reports. Without any action by the Senate, Garland’s nomination expired in 2017, and without Trump’s input.
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USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Republican senators blocked Garland’s nomination
Trump did not personally revoke Garland’s nomination, bruce huberlaw professor at the University of Notre Dame, to USA TODAY in an email.
The judges of the Supreme Court are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Under Senate rules, nominations that are neither confirmed nor rejected are due at the end of the Congressional session, Huber said. That was the case with Garland.
After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016, Obama had the opportunity to nominate a new judge for life, as USA TODAY reported. He chose Wreath, who was then the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
However, Republican senators refused to consider Garland, saying that, in light of the upcoming 2016 election, they wanted the next president to nominate a replacement for Scalia. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he wanted to “give people a voice” to take the job.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee did not hold a hearing or confirmation vote for Garland. His candidacy expired on January 3, 2017, the last day of that session of Congress, according to the Wall Street Journal. Trump candidate Neil Gorsuch filled the seat left by Scalia in April 2017, according to the Supreme Court website.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate as FALSE the claim that Trump revoked Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court when he became president. Republican senators said they would not consider Garland, Obama’s nominee, as they wanted the next president elected to office to pick a new justice. Garland’s nomination expired in 2017 without Trump’s input.
Our data verification sources:
bruce huberAugust 14, Email exchange with USA TODAY
chrisedelson, August 14, telephone interview with USA TODAY
USA TODAY, February 13, 2016, Republicans already oppose any Obama nomination to the Supreme Court
USA TODAY, March 16, 2016, Republican senators vow not to consider Garland to fill Supreme Court vacancy
Supreme Court of the United States, accessed August 15, Current members
USA TODAY, October 20, 2020, Fact Check: Senate Republicans Move To Confirm Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, But Blocked Obama
Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2017, President Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination of Merrick Garland Expires
US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, accessed August 15, merrick garland
USA TODAY, August 11, Trump Says He Won’t Fight Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant
White House, accessed August 15, The judicial power
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact Check: GOP Senators Blocked Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS Nomination