These Senate Democrats Seen as Possible Supreme Court Nominee

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand among those drawing court watchers' attention.

ByABC News
February 17, 2016, 2:29 PM

— -- Several Senate Democrats could be among the candidates on President Obama's shortlist for a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, court watchers say.

While Senate Republicans want Obama's successor to fill Scalia's seat, some pundits have speculated that GOP senators would have a tougher time rejecting another member of the upper chamber, even one from across the aisle.

Here's a look at the possibilities:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York

Gillibrand, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, worked as an attorney in New York and as a special counsel to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration before getting elected to Congress. She also served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (The judge for whom she clerked there has said she would have made a good judge.)

Gillibrand, 49, would be the youngest justice on the bench if confirmed. But a spokesman for Gillibrand said the senator is "quite happy" in the Senate, and wants to stay there. The New York Democrat, who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat in 2009, is also seen as a potential presidential candidate.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota

Minnesota's female senator, like Gillibrand, has no experience on the bench. But Klobuchar, 55, is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and worked for eight years as the Hennepin County prosecutor in Minnesota. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, Klobuchar is also thought to be interested in a future presidential run, and has made several trips to Iowa -- unrelated to her support for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- in recent years.

She's also tamped down Supreme Court speculation in the days after Scalia's death. “I love my job now, and in a time of this tremendous polarization in politics … I think it’s important to have people that are willing to stick with it and stay there,” she said in a moderated discussion at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Tuesday.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey

Booker, the 46-year-old former mayor of Newark who joined the Senate in 2013, has the resume of a Supreme Court justice. He's a graduate of Yale Law School, which has fielded the second-most justices in the court's history, according to Time Magazine. (Only Harvard Law School has fielded more.)

Asked by The New York Times whether he'd accept an appointment to the Supreme Court, Booker did not rule out the appointment, but said he is "very focused" on criminal justice reform in the Senate.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

On the other side of the aisle, the long-serving Utah Republican is an unlikely pick for Obama's Supreme Court nominee. But his name has been floated by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested he'd be a pick Republicans would consider and confirm before the presidential election.

In interviews, Hatch, who’ll be 82 next month, has laughed off the suggestion, telling CNN he'd serve 20 years and "have every Democrat praying for my demise."

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