Barack Obama's election is unlikely to transform the Supreme Court, as the four justices of the conservative bloc are unlikely to retire. But if the 88-year-old John Paul Stevens departs, the new president will have an opportunity to make his mark. Court observers speculate that Obama would choose a more moderate voice over a liberal crusader, but everyone agrees: the new president will almost certainly pick a woman.
"It's absurd that the Supreme Court has only one woman, and everyone recognizes it," one Washington lawyer told the Los Angeles Times. Some of the names being mentioned include:
- Diane Wood, an appellate judge and a colleague of Obama's at the University of Chicago.
- Sonia Sotomayor, on the bench in New York, who would be the court's first Latina justice.
- Elena Kagan, dean of the Harvard Law School, a former Clinton adviser.
- Or Obama could choose a governor: Arizona's Janet Napolitano could end up at the court, if she isn't tapped for AG first.