Former President Barack Obama’s forsaken Supreme Court nominee is now being touted as a good candidate for FBI director by an unlikely advocate — a Republican senator.
Sen. Mike Lee, of Utah, tweeted Thursday that President Donald Trump should nominate former prosecutor and one-time Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland to replace recently ousted FBI leader James Comey, who Trump sacked Comey on Tuesday.
Many Senate Republicans refused to consider Garland's nomination, essentially blocking him from confirmation to the staunchly conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
Trump’s pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, was nominated in January and confirmed in April over heavy Democratic opposition.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, also of Utah, reportedly agrees with Lee's appraisal of Garland.
“I suggested that [the White House] ought to consider him,” Hatch said Thursday, according to The Hill. “I didn’t say they should just pick him. I know they’ve got some really excellent people, but I said put Merrick in the list too.”
He added that he thinks Garland is a “very fine fellow.”
The suggestion also drew support from Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, who added that a special prosecutor was also necessary in the wake of Comey's firing.
A tweet on her timeline says Garland becoming the FBI director "isn't going to happen," but she added that she values Republicans considering "consensus FBI candidates."
Garland is the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court, a position noted by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin as a strong reason why he would not entertain the position of FBI director.
"After the way the Senate treated Merrick Garland, I hope this isn't some idea of a consolation prize," Durbin said Thursday, according to CNN.
Others, like Sen. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, described the proposal as "unserious."
Obama, while touting Garland as a Supreme Court candidate in Chicago last year, was questioned about adding another white man to the bench of the country's highest courts.
"Yeah, he's a white guy, but he's a really outstanding jurist, sorry," Obama said at the time.
Garland comes from Lincolnwood, a suburb of Obama's adopted hometown of Chicago.