If Democrat Barack Obama wins the presidential election in November he could be presented with three openings during his first term, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration. And one expert has Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm on his short list of nominees.
Dellinger said it's likely that Justices John Paul Stevens, 88, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, and David Souter, 69, would step down in the next four years.
Thomas Goldstein of the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and a founder of Scotusblog.com, said he thinks Obama will nominate a woman and probably a minority:
Goldstein's choices, in order of likelihood, and comments:
1. Sonia Sotomayor, 54, U.S. Court of Appeals for 2nd Circuit. Would be first Hispanic justice.
2. Diane Wood, 58, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The strongest intellect.
3. Elena Kagan, 48, dean, Harvard Law School. The youngest; respected by conservatives.
4. Leah Ward Sears, 53, chief justice, Georgia Supreme Court. African American.
5. Granholm, 49. Political experience and a former state attorney general. A Clinton supporter; stood in for McCain running mate Sarah Palin in Sen. Joe Biden's