Obama’s First Supreme Court Choice

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Signs coming out of the White House suggest that it may be announced within hours. The NYT’s Peter Baker reports that White House officials are saying the list is now down to four women. The paper has done profiles of all of these candidates recently, giving us a sense of what direction each might take the court: Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Appeals Judge Diane P. Wood of Chicago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York.

As has been noted before, the fact that this pick will replace David Souter suggests that the new justice is not going to swing the court on such volatile social issues as abortion. But Charlie Savage noted over the weekend that there is one area where this choice could make a big difference–on the question of executive power.

So who would you like to see President Obama pick?

UPDATE: That the President would be considering a woman to add to a court that currently has only one is no surprise. But there are more ways that this court lacks diversity, notes Robert Barnes in today’s Washington Post. How about a graduate of a public university? (As it happens, Wood is a product of my own alma mater.) Or someone who doesn’t come right off the appelate bench, someone like Kagan or Napolitano? One thing he doesn’t mention: A majority of the current court (as opposed to about a quarter of the U.S. population) is Catholic.