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Supreme Court Nominee is 2nd Cousin to Iowa Gov. Branstad

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Judge Merrick Garland are 2nd cousins. Pres. Obama nominated...
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Judge Merrick Garland are 2nd cousins. Pres. Obama nominated Merrick for the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, March 16, 2016.(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 16, 2016 at 11:39 AM CDT
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The federal judge nominated by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court is a second cousin to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

Merrick Garland, chief justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is related through Branstad's mother, whose birth name was Rita Garland.

Branstad, who was governor in 1995 when Merrick Garland was nominated for the federal appeals court in Washington, wrote a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley asking for his support.

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes says Wednesday that Branstad met Garland for the first time a few weeks ago during a trip to Washington. The men had breakfast together.

Hammes says Branstad, a Republican, "supports the path chosen by Senator Grassley as chairman of the Judiciary Committee."

Grassley refuses to hold nomination hearings.