ASAN Urges Confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland

Scales of Justice Statue

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) urges the Senate to confirm Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. This vacancy cannot be allowed to remain until the inauguration of the next president. We believe that the President’s nominee will fairly examine the disability rights issues that are presented before the Court.

Judge Garland is currently the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit). He has a track record of issuing thoughtful and fair decisions regarding the cases that came before him, including cases involving people with disabilities. In particular, he has a record of protecting the rights of people with disabilities to bring their case before a jury and to proper consideration of all of their evidence,[1] and respecting federal agencies’ authority to pass regulations protecting people with disabilities.[2] During his 19 years of experience as a judge, he has earned the respect of lawyers, judges, and policymakers across the political spectrum.

It would be irresponsible for the Senate to allow a Supreme Court vacancy to remain unfilled until 2017. Without a ninth member, the Supreme Court may be unable to issue binding decisions in cases that require a tie-breaking vote. This will lead to inconsistent application of our laws, including critical disability laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, from one part of the country to another. We urge Senate leadership to confirm Judge Garland’s nomination without further delay.

We welcome all further discussion in the disability rights community and with the public on the nomination and our support. For further information please contact Samantha Crane, Director of Legal and Public Policy, at, or Kelly Israel, our Policy Analyst, at

[1] See Aka v. Washington Hosp. Ctr., 156 F.3d 1284, 1292-93 (D.C. Cir. 1998);  Breen v. DOT, 282 F.3d 839, 842-44 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (Rehabilitation Act case, finding that whether plaintiff could perform her job with her requested accommodations was still at issue in the case), Jones v. Astrue, 647 F.3d 350, 355-57 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

[2] See Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. v. Shiu, 773 F.3d 257 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (Finding that federal agencies could, if they wished, strengthen their affirmative action regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act).