Speculating over possible Supreme Court nominees

This morning, ABC’s Jake Tapper has a list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Word is that Obama will announce his nominee in early May. The Republican Senators are waiting to see who gets nominated before finalizing their strategy. The GOP base will want a fight, but GOP Senators will be wary of creating so much of a battle that it awakens the moribund Democratic base. I think it’s safe to say Obama won’t consider the Democratic base when he makes his decision:

The short list includes: Solicitor General Elena Kagan; Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit; Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court in Chicago; Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow, who was once the president’s professor; and Judge Sidney Thomas of the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court in San Francisco.

There are others not on the short list whom the president might consider, including White House official Cass Sunstein, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is being pushed by some on Capitol Hill, sources said.

No doubt some of these are trial balloons to gauge the level of GOP opposition.

CNN reported
that Elizabeth Warren is also on its version of the short list. The widely-respected Warren is ccurrently the chair of Congressional Oversight Panel, which oversees TARP. She’ll play a key role over the next few weeks as the Senate consider its financial reform bill.

Apparently, Hillary Clinton is not under consideration.

Also, Marc Ambinder took the speculation to a new level in a post he wrote yesterday about whether the first name on Tapper’s list, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, is gay:

Given the confusion and rumors about Kagan’s sexuality, the issue is bound to come up. It’s tough for the media to cover, because reporters have trouble writing openly and honestly about a very contested subject, and because they don’t want to appear to be outing anyone. There’s no consensus within “The Village” about whether sexual orientation is a private matter — or about when it becomes a public matter.

Instead of actually discussing the issue, the Villagers just whisper about it. I believe this falls into that trial balloon classification. There is still a mindset among many in the media that there’s something wrong with being gay. Unfortunately, that’s reinforced by politicos, media types and pundits who lead closeted lives. I would be shocked if Obama appointed someone to the Supreme Court who is gay or even someone whose sexual orientation is the source of “confusion and rumors.” It’s not his style.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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