In which we ask five people to make a case for who they think Obama should nominate for the Supreme Court:
‘A Remarkable Public Servant’
The case for Janet Napolitano.
By Gen. Barry McCaffrey
Janet Napolitano was the U.S. attorney from Arizona when I started working with her while serving as the White House drug-policy director. I spent one long day with her in 1996 inspecting U.S. border operations along the frontier with Mexico. She struck me then, and she has ever since, as a remarkable public servant. She is extraordinarily intelligent, extremely family-oriented and compassionate, and with none of the posturing that we frequently see in political officials.
An Advocate for the Average Citizen
Elizabeth Warren would represent the people against powerful financial interests on the Supreme Court.
By Jonathan Alter
Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School professor and passionate consumer advocate, hasn’t been on many shortlists for the Supreme Court. But I understand from administration sources that she is very much in the hunt. Warren would satisfy President Obama’s criteria for the job, and she would likely prove to be a historic choice with a long-lasting impact on the country.
A Mirror to Obama’s Self-Image
If the president wants to burnish his post-partisan credentials, he should choose Judge Merrick Garland, who has worked well with conservatives.
By Benjamin Wittes
If President Obama wants to use the current Supreme Court vacancy at once to promote his judicial values and to reestablish himself in the run-up to the midterm elections as a post-partisan president capable of genuine statesmanship, he has an obvious choice. That choice is Merrick Garland, a judge who has spent the years since 1997 bridging the divide between liberals and conservatives on the once polarized D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—and often coaxing surprisingly liberal decisions from his conservative colleagues.
‘A Respected Scholar, Teacher’
Why Obama should choose his current solicitor general, Elena Kagan, for the Supreme Court.
By Charles J. Ogletree Jr.
Solicitor General and former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan would make a superb Supreme Court justice. If the president is looking for someone who is intelligent, independent, and young, and who will bring unique experience that will immediately enable her to have an impact on the court, Solicitor General Kagan is his choice. She has always overcome challenges by those who would underestimate her talent because of her age or gender.
A Consensus Builder
Judge Diane Wood has worked well with her conservative colleagues.
By Rob Warden
It is hard to imagine a more appropriate replacement for John Paul Stevens—or a more ideal addition to the Supreme Court—than Diane Wood, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, where Stevens once served with distinction. Wood has been to the Seventh Circuit what Stevens has been to the Supreme Court: a counterweight to conservative fellow jurists. But she, like Stevens, is no ideologue, and she is held in high esteem by her conservative colleagues.