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U.S. Supreme Court

Legal Heavyweights List Less Obvious Picks to Replace Stevens

Posted Apr 9, 2010 11:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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There is lots of speculation surrounding three possible nominees to replace Justice John Paul Stevens: Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appeals judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland. But what about the less-obvious possibilities?

Slate contacted a number of legal heavyweights to learn about their less-obvious choices to devise its own “offbeat shortlist.” Some of the possible nominees mentioned are:

• Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and professor at the New York University law school. Suggested by Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights. Bright says Stevenson would be a good choice because the current justices “have no real sense of the injustices and cruelty of the criminal justice system.”

• William Gunn, general counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Lawyer Phillip Carter says Gunn would be a good choice because the Supreme Court needs a justice with “visceral military experience, if not combat experience as well.”

• Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. Doug Kmiec, U.S. ambassador to Malta, likes Phillips because he has “the ability to form majority coalitions” and he should be “filibuster-proof.”

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