Supreme Court Justice Souter has officially announced plans for retirement following the current court term and the search for candidates to fill the vacancy on the bench are underway.
The difference between justice candidate chatter now as opposed to in February, when Justice Ginsberg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer, is that we know for certain that an Obama appointment to the Supreme Court is eminent whereas in February it was speculative. And surprisingly, or not, conservative talking heads have already begun their partisan spew before any nominations have been made. Gah.
The media is tossing about several names for the shortlist, though the White House has not officially commented on any of them. In the running are:
Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan)
Elena Kagan (Solicitor General)
Harold Hongju Koh (Dean, Yale Law School)
Kim McLane Wardlaw (Federal Justice, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals)
Janet Napolitano (Secretary if Homeland Security)
Deval Patrick (Governor of Massachusetts)
Johnnie Rawlinson (Federal Justice, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals)
Sonia Sotomayor (Federal Justice, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals)
Kathleen M. Sullivan (Professor, Stanford Law School)
Leah Ward Sears (Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court)
Diane Wood (Federal Justice, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals)
I hope that the Obama nominee will be a moderate and I still think that Sotomayor is the best choice for nomination as I think she'll appeal to both sides of the aisle.
It's interesting that Senator Spector switched party affiliations last week trading in his well-worn R for a shiny new D. Specter is quoted as saying "I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party." His voting record supports his statement.
Specter's new party alignment, along with the anticipated confirmation of Senator Al Franken from Minnesota will give Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate, which all but ensures any Obama nominated justice will be confirmed by the Senate.