Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland cited a lot of judges appointed by Republicans in his decisions as chief judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Ravel Law Blog, which is run by Stanford Law School graduates Nicholas Reed and Daniel Lewis, found that, of the top 10 judges cited by Garland in his more than 300 authored opinions, seven were appointed by Republican presidents.
Not all were conservative, such as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by former President Gerald Ford. But the mix shows that Garland is, in fact, a centrist, Lewis told Business Insider.
“I think what it indicates is … that he is pretty middle-of-the-road,” Lewis said. “All those kind of gut-level reactions people have are based on anecdotes, but here I think is where the data science can confirm it.”
Although his most cited judge is the liberal Harry Thomas Edwards, who was appointed to the DC Circuit Court by former President Jimmy Carter, his second-most cited jurist is the conservative former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
“He could be the tipping vote on any number of issues,” Lewis said.
Court watchers see Garland, the 63-year-old judge nominated by US President Barack Obama for the vacant Supreme Court seat on Wednesday, as a centrist or center-left judge. He has also been known to swing to the right on criminal-justice issues. But some Republicans have rushed to label him a “liberal” as some in their ranks have hinted at possibly seeing his nomination through.
Editor’s note: Nicholas Reed once interned for Business Insider’s Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget when Blodget was at Merrill Lynch.