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Who Will Be Obama’s Next Supreme Court Pick? Blog Points to California AG Kamala Harris

Posted Feb 15, 2012 10:53 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Who will be the next justice to retire, and who will be nominated to replace that person?

SCOTUSblog does some prognosticating and says California Attorney General Kamala Harris could be the next nominee tapped for the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There's one big problem, though: Harris may not want the job.

Blog founder Tom Goldstein starts with the assumption that President Obama will win a second term. Ginsburg will likely retire next, he says, and even sets the likely date for her announcement: April 20, 2015.

Goldstein is sure that Ginsburg’s replacement would be a woman, and says she will most likely be African-American or Asian-American. She will probably be between the ages of 45 and 55 at confirmation. And she cannot be associated with a strong ideology. The age factor will likely eliminate several qualified federal appeals judges, he says.

“In the lists of names, only one truly stands out as checking every box: Kamala Harris,” Goldstein writes. Like the president, she is biracial, and she will be 50 years old in 2015. She is liberal, but she has a law enforcement background.

The only problem is that Harris could pass up a Supreme Court nomination because she would be early in her second term as attorney general at that point.

Another “serious possibility” is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who knows the president from their service together in the Illinois legislature. Goldstein names seven other contenders, including former Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm and two women with pending nominations to federal appeals courts: former New York solicitor general Caitlin Halligan and U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen.

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

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