(Photos: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

If there is one judge who might understand Merrick Garland’s disappointment, at the expiration of his U.S. Supreme Court nomination on Tuesday, it is perhaps one of his colleagues on the federal appeals bench in Washington: Senior Judge Douglas Ginsburg.

The March 16 nomination of Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, languished in the U.S. Senate for 293 days—the longest period of inaction on a Supreme Court nomination in Senate history.

Ginsburg’s nomination was much more short-lived.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Ginsburg on Oct. 29, 1987, following the Senate’s rejection of another D.C. Circuit judge, Robert Bork. But allegations that Ginsburg had smoked marijuana as a student in the 1960s and as an assistant professor at Harvard Law School in the 1970s triggered a firestorm among a number of senators.

Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration nine days after his nomination, and Reagan picked Anthony Kennedy four days later to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Lewis Powell.

No such controversy—quaint by today’s standards—stalked the Garland nomination. Garland was perceived as a consensus nominee, a moderate, respected on both sides of the Senate aisle.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced one hour after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February that there would be no Senate action—no hearings, no votes—on any nominee by President Barack Obama.

McConnell said then, and repeated, that voters—in choosing the next president—deserved to have a voice in filling the vacancy. At the heart of Senate Republican leaders’ refusal to vote on Garland was concern about controlling the direction of the high court. After Scalia’s death, the court was ideologically divided.

Just as Ginsburg returned to the D.C. Circuit following the withdrawal of his nomination, Garland now returns to the court on which he has served since 1997.

Garland is scheduled to appear on Jan. 18 when a three-judge panel will hear a dispute over access to records related to MetLife Inc.’s challenge to its designation as a “systemically important financial institution.”

Five days later, Garland is set to hear arguments in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by journalist Jason Leopold. Leopold, who is joining BuzzFeed News, sued the Central Intelligence Agency for documents related to the alleged illegal search of staff computers of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A White House spokesman on Tuesday called Senate Republicans’ treatment of Garland “unfair” and the result of “intense partisanship” that would have consequences for future nominations.

“Republican senators blocked an eminently qualified Supreme Court nominee whose qualifications were not in question simply because he was nominated by a Democratic President,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “How then can Republicans go to Democratic senators and say that they should support nominees put forward by a Republican President? They have no standing in which to do that.”

Earnest called Garland a “patriot” who “deserved far better treatment than he received from Republicans in the United States Senate.”

Garland and Ginsburg didn’t get elevated. Neither did the late Robert Bork, a D.C. Circuit judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court, by Reagan, could not surmount Democratic opposition in 1987. Court observers see Bork’s failed nomination as a tipping point for increasingly contentious Supreme Court nominations.

Others on the D.C. Circuit saw better fortune. Three current members of the high court—Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas—successfully relocated from the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse to 1 First Street N.E. As did the late Scalia.

If there is one judge who might understand Merrick Garland’s disappointment, at the expiration of his U.S. Supreme Court nomination on Tuesday, it is perhaps one of his colleagues on the federal appeals bench in Washington: Senior Judge Douglas Ginsburg.

The March 16 nomination of Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, languished in the U.S. Senate for 293 days—the longest period of inaction on a Supreme Court nomination in Senate history.

Ginsburg’s nomination was much more short-lived.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Ginsburg on Oct. 29, 1987, following the Senate’s rejection of another D.C. Circuit judge, Robert Bork. But allegations that Ginsburg had smoked marijuana as a student in the 1960s and as an assistant professor at Harvard Law School in the 1970s triggered a firestorm among a number of senators.

Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration nine days after his nomination, and Reagan picked Anthony Kennedy four days later to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Lewis Powell.

No such controversy—quaint by today’s standards—stalked the Garland nomination. Garland was perceived as a consensus nominee, a moderate, respected on both sides of the Senate aisle.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced one hour after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February that there would be no Senate action—no hearings, no votes—on any nominee by President Barack Obama.

McConnell said then, and repeated, that voters—in choosing the next president—deserved to have a voice in filling the vacancy. At the heart of Senate Republican leaders’ refusal to vote on Garland was concern about controlling the direction of the high court. After Scalia’s death, the court was ideologically divided.

Just as Ginsburg returned to the D.C. Circuit following the withdrawal of his nomination, Garland now returns to the court on which he has served since 1997.

Garland is scheduled to appear on Jan. 18 when a three-judge panel will hear a dispute over access to records related to MetLife Inc. ‘s challenge to its designation as a “systemically important financial institution.”

Five days later, Garland is set to hear arguments in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by journalist Jason Leopold. Leopold, who is joining BuzzFeed News, sued the Central Intelligence Agency for documents related to the alleged illegal search of staff computers of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A White House spokesman on Tuesday called Senate Republicans’ treatment of Garland “unfair” and the result of “intense partisanship” that would have consequences for future nominations.

“Republican senators blocked an eminently qualified Supreme Court nominee whose qualifications were not in question simply because he was nominated by a Democratic President,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “How then can Republicans go to Democratic senators and say that they should support nominees put forward by a Republican President? They have no standing in which to do that.”

Earnest called Garland a “patriot” who “deserved far better treatment than he received from Republicans in the United States Senate.”

Garland and Ginsburg didn’t get elevated. Neither did the late Robert Bork, a D.C. Circuit judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court, by Reagan, could not surmount Democratic opposition in 1987. Court observers see Bork’s failed nomination as a tipping point for increasingly contentious Supreme Court nominations.

Others on the D.C. Circuit saw better fortune. Three current members of the high court—Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas —successfully relocated from the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse to 1 First Street N.E. As did the late Scalia.