The AP wire is reporting on a possible nominees to replace Justice Souter. Most news sources are reporting that President Obama will nominate a woman. He is also under considerable pressure to nominate a minority candidate, and there are only a handful of nominees to meet both of those criteria. Here is the AP list reprinted: (I’ve added a ‘+’ sign for the nominees who I consider the most likely)
•+ U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, a former Harvard University law professor.
• Judge Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
• Pam Karlan, a law professor at Stanford University.
• Judge Margaret McKeown of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
•+ Judge Diane Wood of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
• Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
•+ Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
• Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
• Cass Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University.
These must be old, because he was tipped by Obama to run the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs but hasn’t started in that position yet. I’d say the most likely nominees are Kathleen Sullivan, former Dean of Stanford Law School, Elena Kagan, Solicitor General, and Sonia Sotomayor, Second Circuit judge.
I’m not sure I buy into the common consensus that his nominee will result in more of the same. President Obama has the chance to nominate a ferociously liberal justice in the mold of Justice Ginsburg or a technocrat in the mold of Justice Breyer. He can also choose the age of his nominee, will he go for the standard 50-55 range, or shoot younger, for the 40-45 age range like Justice Thomas, who was 43 when he was nominated to replace Thurgood Marshall.
Starting age isn’t always a deciding factor. Justice Souter was 51 when he was elevated from the First Circuit and he retired at 69 after 18 years. Justice Stevens, on the other hand, was nominated at 55 and is now 89-years old.