- Merrick Garland, the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Obama's nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat, is considered a fairly moderate nominee – though many consider him "left of center" on labor and employment, SHRM reports.
- A D.C. attorney told SHRM that Garland has "deferred to decisions of the National Labor Relations Board" in 18 of the 22 cases he authored on the topic of labor and employment. His record also reveals he tends to rule in favor of unions.
- The nomination is being made in a particularly important time for employment law, as Scalia's death has upended the potential balance on upcoming cases concerning public sector unions, class actions and the Affordable Care Act.
The question right now is whether or not the Senate will choose to hold hearings for Garland at all. While Garland has admirers on both sides of the aisle, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently reiterated that he does not believe it is the Senate's place to confirm a Supreme Court pick during an election year.
Regardless, employers will want to keep a close eye on the 2016 election as well as the nomination process, as a new justice nominated from either party could affect the employment law landscape for decades.