Who Will Obama Pick for the Supreme Court?April 9, 2010 - 11:43 AM | by: Lee Ross
The speculation on who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens was going on long before he sent his resignation letter to President Obama Friday. In fact, the topic of Obama’s second high court nomination came up during the battle over his first.
“It wouldn’t at all surprise me if some of the very same people were back in the Oval Office,” White House Chief of Staff David Axelrod said when asked about the next Supreme Court nomination while Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination was still pending before the Senate.
Those same people would include federal appellate court judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In recent months most attention has been focused on Wood and Kagan.
Wood is well known in legal circles for her strong opinions on the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. She was also part of the faculty at Chicago Law School when Obama taught Constitutional law. She is also very familiar to Stevens who is responsible for overseeing the Seventh Circuit and is a Chicago native. Though that connection would unlikely be a decisive factor into her selection.
Kagan is the former dean of the Harvard Law School and is well-regarded for her performance there in controlling a fractious faculty and reaching out to conservatives. She has already successfully navigated through the Senate Confirmation process to become Solicitor General. Kagan is also something of an unknown entity because she has never been a judge and as a result has a thin paper trail of past positions.
Of course, the president is free to select anyone he wants and speculation will likely run rampant in the weeks to come. Here is how we assess the possible selections:
Diane Wood, Judge Seventh Circuit
Elena Kagan, Solicitor General
Merrick Garland, Judge DC Circuit COA
Leah Ward Sears, Former Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court.
Kathleen Sullivan, Professor and former dean of Stanford Law School
Cass Sunstein, Former Chicago & Harvard Law Professor, leads Obama Administration’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Pam Karlan, Stanford Law professor
Janet Napolitano, Secy DHS
Jennifer Granholm, Michigan Governor
Rosemary Barkett, Judge 11th Circuit
Fortunato Benavides, Judge 5th Circuit
Christine Arguello, U.S. District Court Judge Denver
Ruben Castillo, Judge USDC Northern District of Illinois
Karen Nelson Moore, Judge 6th Circuit
Jose Cabranes, Judge 2nd Circuit
David Tatel, Judge DC Circuit COA
Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor
Marsha Berzon, Judge 9th Circuit
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General
Charles Ogletree, Law Professor Harvard Law School
Kim Wardlaw, Judge Ninth Circuit
Seth Waxman, Former Solicitor General. Lawyer at Wilmer Hale
Harold Koh, Former Dean Yale Law School–Counsel to State Dept.
Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary
OBAMA’S COURT OF APPEALS NOMINEES
Judge David Hamilton, 6th Circuit
Judge Andre Davis, 4th Circuit
Judge Gerard Lynch, 2nd Circuit
Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., 3rd Circuit
Judge Beverly B. Martin, 11th Circuit
Jane Branstetter Stranch, 6th Circuit
Judge Thomas Vanaskie, 3rd Circuit
Justice Barbara Milano Keenan, 4th Circuit
Judge Danny Chin, 2nd Circuit
Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, 1st Circuit
Judge Albert Diaz, 4th Circuit
Judge James Wynn, 4th Circuit
Goodwin Liu: 9th Circuit
Judge Robert N. Chatigny
Scott M. Matheson, Jr., 10th Circuit