NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama has nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Garland is “widely recognized, not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence,” Obama said.

Here’s what you need to know about Garland:

  • The 63-year-old married father of two daughters graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1974 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977.
  • After graduating, Garland clerked for Judge Henry Friendly and Justice William Brennan before joining the highly-regarded law firm of Arnold & Porter, where he was later a partner.
  • In 1989, Garland became a federal prosecutor and later joined the Justice Department where he supervised some of the most significant prosecutions in the 1990s, including the Oklahoma City Bombing.
  • The Chicago native was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in April 1997 by then President Bill Clinton. He became chief judge in February 2013.
  • Garland is the oldest Supreme Court nominee in modern history, CBS News reported. If confirmed, his vote would move the court to a majority liberal court.

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