Merrick Garland would give Harvard Law the majority on the Supreme Court

President Barack Obama shakes hands with his nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland, currently chief judge for U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit, during the announcement Wednesday in the Rose Garden at the White House.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with his nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland, currently chief judge for U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit, during the announcement Wednesday in the Rose Garden at the White House. –Doug Mills / The New York Times

Following President Barack Obama’s nomination Wednesday of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, there was (and will continue to be) much scrutiny how the U.S. Court of Appeals chief judge would impact the ideology of the court.

But outside of the red-blue political balance, Garland would impress on the court another color: Crimson.

If appointed, he would give Harvard Law School graduates a majority on the nation’s high court. Out of the nine Supreme Court judges, Garland would be the fifth to have received his or her undergraduate or professional law degree from the school.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Elena Kagan received their Juris Doctors (J.D.) at the prestigious school, while Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer received their Bachelor of Law degrees from Harvard Law.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended the school, but later transferred and received her degree from Columbia Law School. Antonin Scalia, the late justice who Garland would replace on the court, was also a Harvard Law graduate.

A college-aged Merrick Garland from his 25th anniversary Harvard class report. —Harvard University

Following Kagan’s appointment in 2010, Garland is the second straight person to both graduate from and teach at Harvard Law nominated to the Supreme Court by Obama, who also got his J.D. from the school.

In a statement Wednesday, Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow called Garland “an outstanding, meticulous, and thoughtful judge with a superb career of public service.’’

Garland was the valedictorian of his 1974 undergraduate class at Harvard College, according to the Congressional Directory, before going on to Harvard Law and earning his J.D. magna cum laude in 1977. During his time at the law school, he also was an articles editor for the Harvard Law Review. Nearly a decade later, Garland returned to Harvard Law School to teach anti-trust law, before going on to serve in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice.

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