The normal rule is that Supreme Court nominees do not give speeches or interviews to the media. But, then, the normal rule is also that the Senate does not block a highly respected and previously easily confirmed nominee a few minutes after the announcement of the nomination. Actually the normal rule is that Senate does not block even a relatively lowly-respected nominee who has never been confirmed to a Federal Court before.
So, Politico reports, today Garland did give a speech
Making an unannounced appearance at an annual breakfast that the federal courts hold to salute Washington law firms active in pro bono work, the veteran jurist paid tribute to lawyers who contribute time to public causes and he linked that work to his own biography. It’s the kind of address that’s relatively common for a sitting judge to make, but one that previous high-profile court nominees have studiously avoided.
In a roughly five-minute speech to about 100 lawyers and judges gathered in the atrium of the federal courthouse in the shadow of the Capitol, Garland said “their and your commitment to public service and the law is the same commitment that has shaped the choices that I have made throughout my career.”
He added that by “helping to provide access to justice for the underprivileged all of you are helping to shore up the rule of the law that is the foundation of a just society.” (Bold added.)
I very much doubt that any prior nominee to the Court has publicly used the phrase “access to justice,” and I hope that the White House judgement that this is an appropriate message reflects the fact that access to justice is a broadly bipartisan issue.
P.S. It is surely worth mentioning that Garland was present (but did not speak) at the previously mentioned LSC Reception at the Supreme Court on Tuesday Evening.