President Obama incorrectly said Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to his current judgeship during an interview with BuzzFeed News on Monday.
Obama claimed Garland, currently Chief Justice of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, was confirmed "unanimously by the Senate for the current positions he holds" as evidence of his worthiness to receive a hearing from Senate Republicans. In reality, Garland was confirmed by a 76-to-23 vote in 1997.
"Part of what I tried to do in filling this seat was to find a nominee who had unimpeachable credentials, who everybody said was a great judge, and everybody said could work with both conservatives and liberals, and I found that person in Merrick Garland," Obama said. "This is a guy who currently serves on the second-most important court in the land. He has, by all accounts, conducted himself fairly, judiciously. He works with other people very well. He's wicked smart.
"Even Republicans compliment him and say he's a great judge. In the past, he's been confirmed unanimously by the Senate for the current positions he holds."
Former president Bill Clinton made the same mistake twice in a row last month:
"So I appointed Judge Garland and he was confirmed 97 to nothing, 97 to nothing," Clinton said at a campaign stop in Los Angeles.
However, it was [Sri] Srinivasan who received that confirmation vote, not Garland. A day later, Clinton made the same mistake in a campaign stop in Wisconsin.
"I thought President Obama was pretty smart to appoint Judge Garland because I put him on the Court of Appeals," Clinton said. "He was confirmed by 97 to zero."
Garland was tapped by Obama in February to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans have remained steadfast that they will not give him a hearing or a vote in an election year, pointing to past similar rhetoric by Vice President Joe Biden when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee.