Supreme Court nominations

Who is on Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court shortlist?

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Hillary Clinton

Photo of Hillary Clinton by Joseph Sohm /

Hillary Clinton hasn’t released a U.S. Supreme Court shortlist, but some “well-connected groups” are in broad agreement about her likely nominees.

The Hill spoke with the groups, which didn’t go on the record. Topping the list is current Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. In its take on the shortlist, Above the Law gives Garland good odds.

If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, they “would jump at the chance to confirm,” according to Above the Law. And Garland could be tapped even if Democrats take control, given his endorsements by so many organizations.

The Hill’s full list:

1) Circuit Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The ABA gave him its highest well-qualified rating, praising his “outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience.”

2) Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who would be the Supreme Court’s first Hindu. Some liberals could oppose his nomination because of his BigLaw work on behalf of large corporations.

3) Circuit Judge Jane Kelly of the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a former federal public defender who was nearly killed more than 15 years ago in an attack while jogging in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

4) Circuit Judge Paul Watford of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. After law school, he clerked for a Republican appointee to the 9th Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

5) Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the 9th Circuit. SCOTUSblog had deemed her a possible pick while she was still a federal judge.

6) Judge Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court. His nomination to the 9th Circuit was scuttled amid Republican accusations that he is outside the mainstream.

7) Judge Mariano Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court, a former Stanford law professor.

8) U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, who was recently nominated to the 9th Circuit. She has overseen several high-profile technology cases.

9) Circuit Judge Patricia Ann Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She worked in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

10) U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

11) U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J.

After Garland, Above the Law likes the chances of Srinivasan, Kelly, Watford and Millett. “They are all, like Chief Judge Garland, highly respected federal appellate judges who were previously considered by President Obama for the nomination that ultimately went to Garland,” the blog says. “All would—unlike the white male Garland—add gender or racial/ethnic diversity to the court. And all would be confirmable, to varying degrees, by a Republican Senate.”

Above the Law puts Nguyen, Liu and Cuéllar, and Koh in “the next tier,” saying it gives a modest “non-federal appellate judge discount” to the latter three. And it puts Senators Klobuchar and Booker in the “long-shot tier.”

“It’s fashionable to put political figures on SCOTUS shortlists and to wax nostalgic for the days when Gov. Earl Warren and Senator Hugo Black could get appointed to the court,” the blog says, “but those days are gone. The Supreme Court today is, for better or worse, a much more “technical” institution than it used to be.”

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