Obama's Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Supreme Court Nominees

BIO: Age: 58. Grew up in New Jersey and moved to Texas in high school when her father, an accountant, was transferred. Graduate of University of Texas and University of Texas Law School. Clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun. Appointed to the 7th Circuit by President Clinton in 1995. Has also worked in private practice and was a long-time professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Also held government positions at the State Department and the Justice Department.

SUPPORTERS SAY:
-- She has life experience and a sterling resume, including service as a federal appeals court judge, work in private practice, time spent as a professor and positions in the U.S. government.
-- She taught antitrust law and was associate dean at University of Chicago Law School, where Obama also taught.
-- On the appeals court, she has proven to be a strong opponent to appeals court judicial luminaries Easterbrook and Posner.

CRITICS SAY:
-- In NOW v. Scheidler, she wrote an opinion applying RICO -- a statute designed for mob prosecutions -- to prevent pro life activists from engaging in protests.
-- Detractors claim hostility to religious litigants and religious interests. She authored an opinion refusing to allow prisons to require inmate participation in drug rehab programs that used "explicit religious content."
-- --Conservatives will question her joining an opinion called Doe V. City of Lafayette, written by Judge Ann Williams. According to Emily Bazelon of SLATE: "It's about a convicted sex offender who cruised a park in Lafayette, Indiania, admitting to "having urges" about a group of kids he saw there, although he didn't actually molest them." Bazelon writes that the ruling, "defends the rights of what may be the most despised minority of all: pedophiles."

Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan

Jennifer Granholm

BIO: Age: 50. Graduate of Harvard Law School. Served as a federal prosecutor. Elected Michigan's first female attorney general in 1998. Became governor in 2002 and won re-election in 2006.

SUPPORTERS SAY:
-- Her varied experience would serve her well.

CRITICS SAY:
-- She has no experience on the bench.
-- She was born in Canada and made an appearance on the Dating Game.
-- She may not fare well at confirmation hearings on complicated constitutional questions.

Leah Ward Sears, Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court

Leah Ward Sears

BIO: Age: 53. Graduate of Emory University School of Law. First African American woman chief justice in the country. First woman to serve on Georgia's Supreme Court and first woman to win a contested state-wide election in that state. Appointed by former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller in 1992. Won re-election to the court in 2004. Plans to retire on June 30, 2009. Longtime friend of Justice Clarence Thomas. Friend and former campaign manager Atlanta lawyer Bernard Taylor.

SUPPORTERS SAY:
-- She would be the first African American woman on the Supreme Court.
-- She has an interesting life story. She was born an Army brat and was the first black woman to sit on the federal judiciary.

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