- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2016

An influential small-business group on Tuesday rated Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland as anti-business and biased in favor of government regulators, dealing a blow to his long-shot candidacy.

The National Federation of Independent Business released its comprehensive scorecard of Judge Garland’s 19-year career on the federal bench, finding that he has ruled against businesses 90 percent of the time and in favor of federal agencies in 77 percent of all cases.

“He is quantifiably biased in favor of regulatory agencies and against private-sector businesses,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “His record speaks for itself, and elevating him to the Supreme Court would put small business and the economy at great risk.”

President Obama, who nominated Judge Garland last month to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, has portrayed the nominee as a centrist. Senate Republican leaders are blocking his confirmation, saying the next president elected by voters should choose a nominee.

Judge Garland is scheduled to have breakfast Tuesday with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, who has said he won’t hold hearings on the nominee.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, accused Senate Republicans on Monday of trying to “rewrite the Constitution.” About 17 Senate Republicans have agreed to meet with the nominee, but only two are calling for hearings.

The NFIB examined hundreds of Judge Garland’s cases. The group said businesses lost 95 percent of the time in labor disputes and labor unions have never lost.

The judge’s record “is just as one-sided when it comes to environmental regulators,” the NFIB said. In those cases, Judge Garland agreed with federal agencies nine out of 10 times, and environmental groups won 62 percent of their cases before him.

The National Labor Relations Board has won 78 percent of its cases before Judge Garland.

“His instinct is to rule in favor of the agencies except when they’re being challenged by environmental activists for not doing enough,” said Ms. Duggan. “In 20 years, he has never once agreed with a private business in an environmental case. That’s very troubling.”

NFIB said there is nothing “moderate” about Judge Garland’s record.

“In most of the cases in which Garland sided with a private party, he was ruling in favor of a labor union, an environmental group, or an employee seeking some sort of punitive action against another private party,” Ms. Duggan said. “The bottom line is that private businesses are almost always a loser in Merrick Garland’s court.”

Judge Garland, 63, has served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia since 1997, and for the past three years as chief judge. He has decided more than 150 cases on regulatory issues, the NFIB found, ruling against commercial enterprises 86 times, issuing seven split decisions and ruling fully in favor of business interests in only six cases.

“That amounts to a 90 percent win-rate for government over the private sector,” the NFIB said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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