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In Possible Retirement, The Likelihood Of An Election-Year Confrontation

Publication Date: 
March 25, 2010
The New York Times
Peter Baker

Lecturer in law Thomas Goldstein is quoted in this New York Times article on possible candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court if Justice John Paul Stevens chooses to retire. Professor Pamela Karlan is also mentioned as a possible candidate:

No announcement has been made, but the widely anticipated retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens in coming weeks has the White House, Senate and lobbying groups bracing for an election-year confrontation over the future of the Supreme Court.

Although Justice Stevens has not disclosed his intentions, he has suggested he may announce as soon as next month plans to step down after 35 years on the bench, providing President Obama his second opportunity to shape the nation’s highest court. A new nomination could set off another charged ideological battle heading into the fall midterm campaign.


The candidates who would most excite the left include the constitutional scholars Harold Hongju Koh, Cass R. Sunstein and Pamela S. Karlan. Mr. Koh and Mr. Sunstein now work in the Obama administration while Ms. Karlan teaches at Stanford Law School. But none were finalists last year, and insiders doubt Mr. Obama would pick any of them now.


Thomas C. Goldstein, a Supreme Court litigator at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and founder of the Scotusblog Web site, said the White House wanted to duplicate the success of the Sotomayor confirmation.

“There’s no diversity imperative here,” Mr. Goldstein said. “They can push whoever they want. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t diversity advantages. Appointing two women in a row I think they would view as a plus.”