NPR's Nina Totenberg to Obama: Why Did You Nominate A "White Guy" To Supreme Court?


(relevant portion begins at 13:35 mark)

NPR's Nina Totenberg interviews President Obama on his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.

Read more of the interview at NPR, titled Why President Obama Picked The 'Only White Guy' On His Shortlist.

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Your base, some of them quietly said, you know, everybody on that list, except Merrick Garland, was a minority or a woman; some of them were both. You picked the oldest person by far, the only white guy, and he's sort of a centrist liberal. He's not, you know, he's not going to — this is, this is our shot to really change the debate at the Supreme Court.

What do you say to that — those folks?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all what I would say is take a look at the appointments I've made since I've been president of the United States. I've appointed as many African-Americans to the Circuit Court as any president ever; more African-American women on the federal courts than any other president; more Hispanics, more Asian-Americans, more LGBT judges than any president in history.

We actually now have a majority of women and/or minorities on the Circuit Courts, something that's never happened before. So my record of appointing a judiciary that reflects the country is unmatched.

When it comes to the Supreme Court, I've appointed two women, one Hispanic. And in each case, the good news is that I appointed the person who I absolutely thought was the best person for the job. In this case, Merrick Garland is the best person for the job.

And I have confidence that — without knowing how he's going to decide any particular case — he's going to be somebody who understands the law, understands precedent, understands the Constitution; and possesses the values that recognize the unique role of the court in preserving our rights, preserving our liberties; and making sure that the powerful get a fair hearing, but that the powerless also are heard and have access to justice.

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