Who should the president choose to replace Justice Souter? Here are some images of the candidates on our wish list.
As President Obama searches for a replacement for Justice David Souter, he should seek a person of extraordinary intelligence, integrity and moral vision. Legendary Justices Earl Warren (seated, center), Hugo Black (left of Warren) and William O. Douglas (seated, end of the row) are among the models cited in The Nation's May 6 forum, "Following Souter."
If tapped, US Appellate Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor would not only be the first Hispanic-American Supreme Court Justice, she would also bring intellectual and moral vision, as well as an understanding of inequality to the Court's decision-making process.
[Photo: Pace University]
Yale Law School Professor Harold Koh has federal experience, but more importantly he has an awareness of the global implications of American policy, and the balance between national security interests and civil liberties.
[Photo: Yale University Law School]
John Echohawk, a legendary lawyer who has run the Native American Rights Fund for more than thirty years, would bring a perspective to the court that has been overlooked for 230 years.
[Photo: Native American Rights Fund]
Professor Ronald Dworkin has a strong record of ensuring the self-determination of autonomous individuals, particularly when it comes to reproductive rights.
[Photo: New York University Law School]
Unlike academics or appellate judges, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is engaged in the day to day lives of ordinary citizens. Her broad experience includes a stint as her state's Attorney General.
The president could seek a justice in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Since 1993, Ginsburg has been a reliable voice of dissent on matters of principle. For instance, her argument against her fellow justices laid the groundwork for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Obama's current Solicitor General Elena Kagan earned a reputation for bringing together opposing factions when she served as Dean of Harvard Law School. She also served as a White House lawyer and domestic policy adviser under former President Clinton.
[Kathleen Dooher/Harvard Law School]
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, would be an original and daring choice for Obama. He has both the academic and professional credentials and could also be an African-American justice in the mold of Thurgood Marshall, instead of Clarence Thomas.
Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan's passion is justice, not power and with her expertise in election and voting rights she could help prevent another Bush v. Gore. She would also make history as the first openly gay Supreme Court Justice.
[Photo: Stanford Law]
Judge Diane Wood has a superb pedigree. Not only does she hail from Obama's old stomping grounds, the University of Chicago Law School, but she clerked for distinguished Justice and Roe v. Wade author Harry Blackmun.
[Photo: University of Chicago Law School]
Should the president choose to look completely outside the traditional sphere for his first Supreme Court nomination, he could do no better than Nobel-prize winning author Toni Morrison. She has the wisdom, values and capacity for creative solutions that a great justice ought to possess.