Obama expected to name court nominee soon

May 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- Monday could be the day U.S. President Barack Obama reveals his nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court, insiders say.

Water-cooler prognosticators say U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, a former Harvard Law dean, is the front-runner on Obama's short list.

"Elena Kagan ... deserves the title 'prohibitive front runner.' Super-smart and genuinely knowledgeable. Solicitor General. Formerly the tremendously successful dean of Harvard Law School," Washington attorney and ScotusBlog.com publisher Tom Goldstein wrote Friday. "Well-known conservatives lined up around the block to support her in emphatic terms."

On Friday, Politico quoted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs as telling reporters Obama would announce his Supreme Court nominee "at any moment."

If Obama indeed taps Kagan, she may come with a bull's-eye on her back, courtesy of her conservative opponents who cite an e-mail she sent to Harvard Law School students and faculty in October 2003 when military recruiters invaded the campus.

Kagan bemoaned that under federal law, the school would have to help the recruiters do their job despite the school's non-discrimination policy and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays.

Another name news outlets have floated as a possible nominee is Chicago U.S. Appellate Judge Diane Wood, who was considered last year when Justice David Souter retired. She lost out to New York U.S. Appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the high court.

Wood is considered the favorite among Democratic progressives, and is often described as the most liberal of the candidates to replace the liberal Stevens.

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