For Obama, Justice Must Be Pragmatic

Law school students, colleagues reflect to predict his choice
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 3, 2009 9:48 AM CDT
This undated black-and-white file photo provided by the presidential campaign of Barack Obama shows the Democratic presidential hopeful while a student of Harvard Law School.    (AP Photo/Obama Presidential Campaign)
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(Newser) – President Obama carries an unusual wealth of Supreme Court knowledge from his days at law school and as a law professor, the New York Times reports, which he'll put to use in replacing Justice Souter. But don’t expect him to go straight for a liberal: Former colleagues and students say he’ll put pragmatism and limited court power first.

As a law professor, “he wasn’t interested in high theory at all,” said a former student. He didn’t care much for formal law, which factors out “political and social context,”Jodi Kantor writes. Instead, he was chiefly concerned with the impact of decisions upon real people. But as a teacher, he rarely gave hints as to his ideal justice. One dean bet it would be “someone like a Thurgood Marshall.”