President Barack Obama on Wednesday tapped moderate Judge Merrick B. Garland of the D.C. Circuit to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by Justice Antonin Scalia, an appointment that experts say could favor employees because of Garland's reputation for deferring to agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board.
Garland, who served on the D.C. Circuit for 19 years before receiving the high court nomination, including the past three years as chief circuit judge, has weighed in on various employment law disputes during that tenure, including many cases involving the NLRB, U.S. Department of Labor and other federal agencies.
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"In the labor and employment arena in particular, Garland has tended more often than not to defer to federal agency decisions," Lotito said. "It is often up to the courts to determine how much deference to accord such agency decisions. Because Garland has shown a willingness to uphold agency positions in contested cases, [that] indicates he could wind up providing the crucial swing vote if confirmed to the high court."