Garland has been on the bench since 1997, and has led the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit as chief judge since 2013. He’s heard hundreds of cases over nearly two decades, and, although he doesn’t speak publicly as much as some of his appeals judge colleagues around the country, he does make the rounds to law schools and bar groups.

We pored over Judge Merrick Garland’s decisions and public remarks in recent years. What follows are highlights.

The role of the judge

“Federal judges do not have roving commissions to solve societal problems. The role of the court is to apply law to the facts of the case before it … not to legislate, not to arrogate to itself the executive power, not to hand down advisory opinion on the issues of the day.” [1995 at confirmation hearing]

‘Get a family’

“They tell you in Washington, that if you want a friend get a dog. Harry Truman said that. That is not true. Get a family. This is a hard place to be. No matter how much honor you have, people will attack you one way or the other. And the principle solace that you get is from your family. Because they’re behind you no matter what happens. So never forget about that. Whatever interests you have in your career, you have to balance it with a deep relationship with your family.” [2013 at Georgetown University Law Center]

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