President Obama has selected his nominee for the Supreme Court.
Merrick Garland, a Chief Judge appeals court in the District of Columbia, is Obama’s choice to take up the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
The Human Rights Campaign looked at the choice for Supreme Court Justice, saying it had high hopes that he would help protect the rights of LGBT people.
“Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing. There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate, and the Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to give him swift and fair consideration,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold the rights of all citizens, and we must hold accountable any politicians who tamper with our nation’s highest court for their own gain.”.
Garland’s nomination may find a hard time to be confirmed, as Republican members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee have been criticised for suggesting that they would not hold a hearing for Obama’s nominee.
The Supreme court has made decisions which directly affect the day to day lives of LGBT people in the US.
Last year the Court ruled in favour of allowing same-sex couples in all 50 states the legal right to marry.
The seat became available as staunch equal marriage opponent Justice Antonin Scalia died earlier this year aged 79.
His death could bring about a fifth liberal justice on the bench, potentially shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court, once he is replaced by President Obama.
The conservative majority had stalled some efforts, including on climate change and immigration.
Scalia was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Ater the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right last year, the justice penning a scathing and often bizarre dissent attacking the decision and his colleagues.
Scalia wrote that he would rather “hide my head in a bag” than support the opinion, comparing it to “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie”.
Speaking to law students at Georgetown University in November, he confessed his eccentric and verbose dissenting opinions were often written to be ‘fun’.
Speaking about same-sex marriage, he questioned where the Constitution draws the line – asking why protections for gay people were included but not child molesters.
He said: “What minorities deserve protection? What, it’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?
“What about pederasts? What about child abusers?”
He joked: “This is a deserving minority… Nobody loves them!”
Hillary Clinton earlier this year said she “loved” the idea of President Obama being appointed to the Supreme Court himself.
In a blog for the Advocate, HRC President Chad Griffin urged Obama to replace the anti-gay justice… with a gay one.
Watch the announcement by Obama below: