Merrick Garland is also a big Harry Potter fan

By Tierney McAfee
Updated April 01, 2016 04:05 PM
Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

We learned all about Merrick Garland’s career highlights when the 63-year-old judge was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama earlier this month. But now it’s time to get to know the chief judge in the Washington, D.C., appeals court on a more personal level.

Cheryl Weiner, a close friend of the Garland family, shared the following fun facts about the man who could become the United States’ 113th justice.

1. He’s a huge Taylor Swift fan.
When Garland’s daughters, Jessie and Becky, were in high school, he drove them to school every morning, and on the way they would all sing along to Swift albums. The only problem? “All three of them are relatively tone-deaf,” Weiner says. “In high school he was cast as the only non-singing part in Guys and Dolls.”

2. He loves all things Harry Potter.
Garland’s daughters grew up reading the Harry Potter series and the whole family got in on the fun – including the judge, who was a pro at voicing the various characters.

In 2008, Garland, who served on the committee that helped select Harvard’s commencement speaker that year, was instrumental in bringing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to his alma mater to deliver her viral commencement address. “He met J.K. before she spoke, noticed her large stone ring, and asked her if she was wearing was a ‘Horcrux,’ ” Weiner explains. “He proudly recounted to his family that she laughed and said she had never thought of it but that he was right and it did look like a Horcrux He describes this as one of his proudest moments.”

3. He is so “obsessed” with ice cream that his family has to guard pints under lock and key – literally.
“His daughters had to put a lock around the ice cream pints to keep him from ploughing through them. He laughed when he discovered the lock but jokingly threatened that there was a loophole – he could just cut a hole in the bottom of the carton to get to the ice cream if desperate,” Weiner says.

4. He falls for April Fools’ pranks.
One April Fools’ Day, Garland’s family pranked him by cleaning out the garage, which was typically too messy to park a car in, and hiding his car in it. He panicked, thinking it had been stolen, and ran around the block to see if he had parked it on the street and forgot. He was about to call the police when his family opened the garage door to reveal the car.

5. He’s a board game champion.
Garland is notorious in his family for winning board games on technicalities – because he’s the only one who actually reads the rules.

One time, when he was losing a game of Risk to his daughters, he fell silent and began studying the rule book. “His daughters became suspicious – and rightfully so,” Weiner says. “Because he found some rule that if he eliminated one player he would get all their pieces. And then he proceeded to do so.”

Classic judge move.