Who would Clinton nominate to Supreme Court? Typical criteria indicate this judge could be the one
Hillary Clinton. K2 images / Shutterstock.com
Who is likely to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court if Hillary Clinton wins the election?
Empirical SCOTUS takes a look at typical backgrounds of U.S. Supreme Court justices and uses the criteria to create its own list. One person satisfied all the factors considered: Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Srinivasan would be the first Hindu and the first Asian-American on the U.S. Supreme Court if he were nominated and confirmed.
Merrick Garland fails to meet two of the criteria because he is over age 60 and doesn’t add demographic diversity to the court. Yet Clinton may choose to maintain his nomination, according to the blog, authored by Adam Feldman, a fellow in the empirical study of public law at Columbia Law School.
The blog started out by creating a list of current federal appeals court judges who were nominated by Democratic presidents. Empirical SCOTUS uses that criteria because only one current justice—Elena Kagan—was not a federal appeals judge. That left 131 possible candidates.
Next, the blog added additional criteria: The judges on the list must be under 60 years of age, they must have received an initial rating of “well qualified” from the ABA, and the judges must have gone to a top-five ranked law school.
The law-school requirement bumped from the list Circuit Judge Paul Watford of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who has been frequently mentioned as a possible nominee. Only 12 judges survived this cut. They were:
• Judge David Barron of the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Cheryl Krause of the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Pamela Harris of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Stephen Higginson of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge John Owens of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Michelle Friedland of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Jill Pryor of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Judge Robert Leon Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
• Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
• Judge Nina Pillard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
• Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
• Judge Richard Taranto of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Empirical SCOTUS takes Taranto off the list because no judge has ever been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Federal Circuit.
Next, Empirical SCOTUS considered additional plus factors of previously clerking for a Supreme Court justice, previously working as a federal government lawyer, working on the D.C. Circuit (the most frequent feeder court), and adding to demographic diversity on the court.
Five judges satisfied at least three of the four final factors: Srinivasan, Krause, Millett, Pillard and Harris. Srinivasan is the only judge who satisfied all four factors.
ABAJournal.com: Who is on Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court shortlist?