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Obama Ready To Fill Slot If Stevens Retires

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2010
The National Law Journal
Tony Mauro

Lecturer Thomas Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog, is quoted on possible candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court if Justice John Paul Stevens were to retire before the end of the term. Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal reports:

The White House appears ready to move quickly on a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court should Justice John Paul Stevens decide to retire before the end of the term.

The vetting of the short list of candidates was already largely done last year when President Barack Obama picked Sonia Sotomayor to replace David Souter, and knowledgeable sources say the president is likely to work off the same dossiers, now being updated. The list includes Solicitor General Elena Kagan, appeals court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.


So if this is a lull period, shouldn't there be a lot of stumping for or against these candidates within the White House or on Capitol Hill? Consider the front-runners, said Thomas Goldstein, partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. "All three of the principal candidates — Kagan, Garland and Wood — are so careful and reserved that I think that, so far as I know, there hasn't been lobbying, and I don't think there will be in a significant way."

Goldstein's influential Feb. 23 SCOTUSblog post has framed discussion of the current state of play on Stevens' potential successor. Its lengthy title, also aimed at knocking down rumors of a Ginsburg retirement, was, "On October 4, 2010, Elena Kagan Will Ask Her First Question As A Supreme Court Justice, And Justice Ginsburg will look across the bench at her new colleague and smile."