Who Would Obama Pick for Supreme Court?

He could go moderate or liberal, but observers see a woman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2008 7:21 AM CST
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who has been singled out for a possible cabinet position, might also be on Barack Obama's shortlist for a Supreme Court vacancy.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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(Newser) – 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.