Savage Predictions for the Supreme Court
Los Angeles Times legal reporter David G. Savage speculates today on who President-elect Barack Obama might pick for the Supreme Court. While Obama's first nominee is virtually certain to be a woman, she is not so certainly going to lean as far left as many liberals may hope, he suggests. "I think it's a virtual certainty Obama would apoint a woman," lawyer Thomas Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog, tells Savage. Among the likely candidates are 7th U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Wood, 2nd U.S. Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm.
But Savage mines an October interview Obama gave to the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press to find clues that Obama may lean towards the middle in filling high court seats. In the interview, Obama said he considered liberal justices such as Earl Warren, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall to be heroes. "But that doesn't necessarily mean that I think their judicial philosophy is appropriate for today," he added. Later, he praised Justices Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter as "very sensible judges" who look at the facts and try to figure out how the Constitution applies.
"That's the kind of justice that I'm looking for. Somebody who respects the law, doesn't think that they should be making the law, but also has a sense of what's happening in the real world and recognizes that one of the roles of the courts is to protect people who don't have a voice."
As vice president, Sen. Joe Biden could be influential in making the nomination, Savage notes. He served on the Senate Judiciary Committee throughout his career and knows many of the Democratic appointees to the bench who could end up on the short list. Of course, all of this is academic unless and until a vacancy opens on the court, and there is no certainty of that happening anytime soon.
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 17, 2008 at 02:05 PM | Permalink
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