Obama nominates another Jew to Supreme Court - making 5 out of 9, if
Sotomayor is counted
Newsletter published on 23 March 2016
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Court Nominee Garland is Jewish. Here's How Jews Are Reacting.
JTA March 16, 2016 1:08pm
make up just over 2 percent of the American population. They could
up almost half the Supreme Court bench.
If Merrick Garland — announced
Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s
choice to fill the late Justice
Antonin Scalia’s seat — is confirmed, a
record four of the nine Supreme
Court justices would be Jewish. Garland
would join Jews Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan on
Jewish reaction to the
news was rapid, and varied.
The Reform movement immediately issued a
statement that didn’t take a
side on whether Garland should be confirmed by
the Senate or comment on
his Jewishness, but urged Republican lawmakers to
fairly consider his
credentials. Garland, 63, is currently the chief judge
of the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate majority leader, has said
senators will not consider any Obama nominee to the Supreme
Court. He called
Garland later in the day and told him the Senate would
not take action on
"Now that a nominee has been named, we call on Senate
McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Grassley to step back from
misguided position they have articulated in recent weeks and instead
allow senators to fulfill their constitutionally-mandated role of
providing advice and consent," Rabbi Jonah Pesner said in the statement
by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "The American people
deserve a fully functioning judiciary, starting with a full Supreme
Later in the day, National Council of Jewish Women sent
out a similar
statement asking the Senate "fulfill their obligation to hold
on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination in a timely
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Jews appreciated the historically high
Garland’s confirmation would create.
@mawilner Just rename it
the SBEDUS: supreme Beth Din Of the US.
Although a Beth Din only needs three
— Asherley (@schmucklevision) March 16, 2016
would be 4th Jew on Supreme Court, would join 5 Catholics. Only
in America —
Chemi Shalev (@ChemiShalev) March 16, 2016
Others felt three out of nine
Merrick Garland will make it 4 Jewish justices out of 9. More
might be nice.
— MJ Rosenberg (@MJayRosenberg) March 16,
And there were the inevitable Bernie Sanders
Merrick Garland is my new favorite older Jewish man. Sorry
— Peter Grosz (@petergrosz) March 16, 2016
Garland & Bernie Sanders, banner year for Jews with very
names who are only in the news to make a political point
— Yair Rosenberg
(@Yair_Rosenberg) March 16, 2016
But the overwhelming initial focus was
on Garland’s name, which isn’t
understand how a dude named Merrick Garland is Jewish
— Max J.
Rosenthal (@maxjrosenthal) March 16, 2016
Merrick Garland is the least
Jewish name for a Jew since… well, my own
name. https://t.co/FWwigAQCO3 — Jeff Woodhead
(@jeffwoodhead) March 16, 2016
@SethAMandel what the — Merrick Garland is
Jewish? What the hell kind of
clubbable name is that for a Jew?
John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) March 16, 2016
Despite Jewish Twitter’s
onomastic skepticism, Garland is a confirmed
member of the tribe.
a short, emotional speech after Obama announced his nomination in the
House Rose Garden, Garland referenced his Jewish background,
grandparents fled to the U.S. from anti-Semitism in Russia.
father, Cyril Garland, was born in Omaha but hailed from a
immigrant family. He ran an advertising business out of
the family home and
died in 2000. Garland’s mother, Shirley Garland, who
is still living, at one
point served as director of volunteer services
at the Council for Jewish
Elderly in Chicago.
"My family deserves much of the credit for the path
that led me here. My
grandparents left the Pale of Settlement at the border
of western Russia
and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, fleeing
anti-Semitism and hoping
to make a better life for their children in
America," he said, choking up.
Garland’s wife Lynn Rosenman, whose father
was a special counsel to
Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, is
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly
Merrick Garland’s father was Protestant; he was