As chief judge of the nation’s most important appellate court, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has sided with President Barack Obama’s environmental regulators against mercury-spewing power plants, supported the administration’s crackdown on for-profit colleges and issued multiple rulings that pleased organized labor.
Those decisions might suggest Garland is a doctrinaire liberal — the left’s answer to Antonin Scalia. But in fact, the appellate court judge blends a penchant for judicial restraint more frequently associated with conservatives with a deference to executive power more typical of liberals.
“He has a reputation for being a judge’s judge rather than a liberal’s liberal,” according to Yale law professor Akhil Amar, who said his “very best students every year all apply to him” for clerkships, regardless of whether they’re liberal or conservative.
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