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President Obama to Announce Supreme Court Pick Wednesday

WASHINGTON (CN) - As the GOP grapples with Donald Trump's latest primary victories, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is ready to put forward a Supreme Court nominee.

The official announcement will come from the White House at 11 a.m., but several news outlets are reporting that Obama has tapped Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, for the post.

Obama is keeping tight-lipped about the nominee ahead of his press conference.

"I'm confident you'll share my conviction that this American is not only eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote," Obama said in a statement this morning.

An Illinois native who has been with the D.C. Circuit since 1997, Garland is early in his fourth year as chief judge for the federal appeals court.

Garland received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, summa cum laude and magna cum laude, respectively. He has taught at Harvard Law School, as well, and also served as the university's president of the board of overseers.

Before his appointment to the D.C. Circuit by President Bill Clinton, Garland worked as a federal prosecutor and deputy assistant attorney general in between stints at the firm Arnold & Porter. He also clerked for Second Circuit Judge Henry Friendly and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr.

The D.C. Circuit notes that Garland supervised the prosecutions of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber as principal associate deputy attorney general in the mid-1990s.

Published in the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal, Garland also sits on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Garland's nomination comes just over a month after the sudden passing of the Supreme Court's conservative stalwart, Justice Antonin Scalia, and one day after reality-television star Donald Trump walloped Republican Party establishment candidates in the latest presidential primaries.

Senate Republicans have been jockeying since Scalia's death on Feb. 13 to block any nominee the president puts forward, insisting that Obama's successor should name the next Supreme Court justice.

At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Republican committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley called it bad for the nominee, bad for the process and bad for the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee during an election year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was the lone conservative voice in the room to join Democrats outraged at the "unprecedented" blockade.

How Trump's latest thrashing of mainstream Republican candidates will affect the committee's opposition remains uncertain.

Obama meanwhile asserted today that he has a "constitutional duty" to put a nominee forward.

"I'm doing my job," Obama said. "I hope that our senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that's what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders."

Two sitting justices already owe their Supreme Court seats to Obama: Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan.

Obama said his deliberation on today's nominee included consultations "with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government."

"And we've reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously," Obama added.

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