These federal judges are reportedly being considered for a Supreme Court nomination
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President Barack Obama is considering several federal judges for the U.S. Supreme Court, most of whom have served little time on the bench and have less of a track record that could open them up for criticism.
According to the Washington Post, the White House prefers a nominee “with few ideological fingerprints” and has been vetting several judges who have worked for both Democrats and Republicans.
Relying on anonymous sources, the Post names several potential nominees who are currently under consideration, including these possibilities also mentioned by the New York Times: Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judge Merrick Garland, both federal appeals judges in Washington, D.C. The Post and previous newspaper accounts have also said federal appeals Judge Jane Kelly and U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson are potential nominees.
Here is the Post’s complete list:
• Judge Sri Srinivasan, 49, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, confirmed unanimously to the court in 2013. Srinivasan was a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Republican appointee J. Harvey Wilkinson of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as a lawyer in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. He would be the Supreme Court’s first Asian American and first Hindu if he won confirmation. He wrote an opinion last year upholding restrictions on protests outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Judge Merrick Garland, 63, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., who was confirmed with “substantial Republican support” in 1997, according to the Times. Garland is considered a moderate.
• Judge Patricia Millett, confirmed in December 2013 as federal appeals judge on the D.C. Circuit. She worked in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
• Judge Jane Kelly of the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed in 2013. Kelly is a former federal public defender who had the backing of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, during her confirmation hearing. She clerked for two appeals judges, one appointed by a Republican and the other appointed by a Democrat.
• Judge Paul Watford, appointed in 2012 to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He clerked for a Republican appointee to the 9th Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In 2014, Watford voted with the majority to overturn an Arizona law that automatically denied bail to people charged with crimes if they were in the United States illegally.
• U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington D.C., appointed in 2013. Jackson is married to the twin brother of the brother-in-law of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Last year Jackson ruled that the District of Columbia had shown a “willful blindness” to a deaf inmate’s need for accommodation and had violated the inmate’s disability rights.
Obama began interviewing potential nominees this week, according to a report by NPR that relies on anonymous sources. The NPR story identified the judges being interviewed, naming all of the judges on the Post’s list with the exception of Millett.
Early on, Obama had considered Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but she is no longer under consideration, according to the Post. She has since announced that she does not want to be considered. The Post story adds that Obama could still add additional potential nominees.
Updated on March 10 to add that Obama is reportedly interviewing potential nominees.