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.”