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At The Debate, No One Cares About Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

Merrick Garland, the long lost Supreme Court nominee.

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WASHINGTON — In talking about the Supreme Court on Sunday night, Hillary Clinton did not even name President Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, in discussing the high court.

Donald Trump didn't even acknowledge that there is a pending nomination.

Asked at Sunday night's contentious debate what they would prioritize in selecting a Supreme Court justice, Clinton didn't mention Obama's nominee until the final portion of her answer.

"I regret deeply that the Senate has not done its job and they have not permitted a vote on the person that President Obama — a highly qualified person — they've not given him a vote to be able to be have the full complement of nine Supreme Court justices," Clinton said toward the end of her answer about important aspects of selecting a Supreme Court justice.

"I think that was a dereliction of duty," she said of the Senate's inaction. "I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am so fortunate enough as to be president, I will immediately move to make sure that we fill that, we have nine justices that get to work on behalf of our people."

Clinton neither said she would renominate Garland nor did she say she would even consider renominating Garland, who is 63, if she takes office without the Senate acting on Obama's nomination.

Clinton did, however, say more about Obama's nominee than Trump did.

"Justice Scalia, great judge, died recently," Trump said of Antonin Scalia's death in February. "And we have a vacancy."

Trump went on to say that he is "looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. I'm looking for judges — and I've actually picked 20 of them so that people would see, highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody."

While Trump said his list contains 20 names, his campaign confirmed to BuzzFeed News later in the night that "[n]obody [was] taken off the list" of 21 names released in late September.

In describing what she wanted in a justice, Clinton, for her part, said, "I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but, you know, maybe they tried some more cases, they actually understand what people are up against."

Specifically, in terms of issues, she said she was looking for the court to overturn Citizens United, to protect voting rights, and to uphold Roe v. Wade and marriage equality.

Trump said he was looking for "people that will respect the Constitution of the United States. ... Also, the Second Amendment."

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.

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