Although President Obama is still tight-lipped about whom he will choose to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, the public is getting a little glimpse of his thinking.
The Associated Press is reporting that among those being considered for the nation’s highest court are at least five women and two Hispanics. They include: California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood. There is wide speculation that Obama will name a woman to the bench.
Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement from the high court four years ago left only one woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among the nine sitting justices. Ginsburg recently underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer, and there are rumors that she could also resign before long. Thus, Obama has been under intense pressure to nominate a woman justice.
In a letter to Obama earlier this week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said that since women comprise the majority of the U.S. population and, the nominee should be another woman. Many observers would like for that nominee to be an African-American woman, the court’s first. In fact, there are those who contend that Obama should be compelled to name an African American, even if it were a Black man. That’s because the Supreme Court’s lone Black justice, Clarence Thomas, has failed to rule in a way that benefits Black society as a whole, they argue.
In keeping his pledge to seek consultation in naming a justice and ensure a “civil” process, Obama met this week with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on Judiciary; Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont; and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the ranking Republican. Vice President Joe Biden, a former Judiciary Committee chairman and veteran of confirmation hearings, also attended.