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Who Would Obama Nominate to the Supreme Court?:
Over at Prawfs, Andrew Siegel had put together a list of potential Obama nominees to the Supreme Court if Obama wins in November and a Justice resigns. I think Andrew's list is particularly thoughtful; it's probably as close as we can get at this point to a prospective Obama "short list." Here's the list:
1) Diane Wood
2) Elena Kagan
3) Merrick Garland
4) Cass Sunstein
5) Teresa Wynn Roseborough
6) Leah Ward Sears
7) Sonia Sotomayor
8) Deval Patrick
9) Eric Holder
10) Barrington Parker, Jr.
  I'll add my own uninformed guesses and random thoughts to everyone else's:

  1) I would guess that Diane Wood and Merrick Garland would be the most easily confirmed if nominated. Both have a solid reputation for being extremely smart and liberal-but-not-overwhelmingly-ideological. Both are experienced judges and reasonably known quantities. They fall roughly into the Ginsburg/Breyer category, and I suspect either would be easily confirmed.

  2) As many have noted, Sonia Sotomayor is absolutely perfect on paper — female Hispanic from Yale Law who is a former prosecutor and Bush 41 nominee to the District Court. But I agree with Andrew's suggestion that many overestimate her chances. Sotomayor is a solid judge, but my sense is that she hasn't brought a lot of pizzazz to the Second Circuit. I would guess Obama the former law professor would aim for someone with more star power. (Plus, while Bush nominated her to the SDNY, it was only as part of a deal; she was a Moynihan pick, not a GOP pick. So I don't think her Bush 41 nomination to the District Court would actually mean anything.)

  3) My own guess is that a President Obama would nominate Deval Patrick, currently the Governor of Massachusetts, if one of the male Justices retired. Here's my thinking. First, Patrick and Obama share similar stories, and I understand they are friends. Second, Patrick's career reveals the kind of empathy and activism that Obama has said he values and that is harder to find among the career judges. Third, Patrick has more charisma than most of the others on the list.

  It's true that some interest groups on the left might not think Patrick is their ideal candidate. In particular, he is neither a woman nor Hispanic. But I can't imagine many on the left would object to a Patrick nomination: he has the potential to become a real liberal lion in the Justice Marshall mold, and my sense is that this is what most activists on the liberal side want more than anything else. It's true that conservatives would oppose Patrick, but a popular President with a friendly Senate can probably take that kind of risk.

  Anyway, that's my random speculation, probably not worth the e-paper it's printed on.
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