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Archive for Thursday, May 14, 2009

Under consideration: Known Supreme Court candidates under Obama’s review

May 14, 2009

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Known candidates under Obama’s review:

• Jennifer Granholm, a former federal prosecutor and Michigan attorney general. She has been a fierce spokeswoman for her state’s struggling auto industry and was a strong advocate for President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.

• Janet Napolitano, who stepped down as Arizona’s governor to join the administration and was quickly tested as homeland security chief when the swine flu outbreak hit.

• Diane Pamela Wood, an appeals court judge who has worked at the State Department, the Justice Department and in private practice. Like Obama, she taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

• Elena Kagan, who stepped down as dean of Harvard Law School to become the nation’s first female solicitor general. Like Obama, she has her law degree from Harvard and taught at the University of Chicago Law School. She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and worked in the Clinton White House.

• Sonia Sotomayor, an appeals court judge and former New York prosecutor and private lawyer. President George H.W. Bush nominated her as a federal judge; President Bill Clinton nominated her to the appeals court.

• Carlos Moreno was nominated by Clinton in 1998 to serve as a U.S. District Court judge, and the Senate unanimously confirmed him. In 2001, he raised a few eyebrows when he gave up his lifetime federal judgeship to accept Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ nomination to the state’s high court. Moreno is the only Democrat on the California Supreme Court and is widely regarded as its most liberal voice. Last year, he signed on to the court’s 4-3 ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. Voters later banned gay marriage in a ballot initiative.

A former Bush administration official surfaced in the nominee conversation Wednesday: James Comey, the former deputy attorney general who bucked the Bush White House over a domestic spying program when he was the Justice Department’s No. 2 in 2004. A senior administration official said some people within the Obama White House are pushing Comey for consideration, although it was unclear how seriously he was being weighed by Obama. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

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