But Senate Republicans do not plan to vet or have hearings on the nominee, and say the next president should be able to choose a replacement for justice Antonin Scalia who died last month.
Obama and Democrats argue that with 10 months left in his term, there is plenty of time for the Senate to take up and confirm a new justice.
Garland's supporters argue he is the nominee that the senators couldn't refuse even in a contentious environment, according to CNN. "He's the establishment of the establishment," one backer was quoted as saying. Obama's formal announcement came hours after telling his supporters in an email: "I've made my decision."
"I've devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision," he wrote. "I've consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we've reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously."