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Anticipation grows as the Supreme Court nominee announcement nears

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April 23, 2010

Washington, D.C.: President Obama's nominee to the fill the soon vacant seat of Justice John Paul Stevens will be ready by May, he announced on April 21.[1] The "short list" speculated by the media still contains about 10 names, though 3 continually pop up on each list. These are: Diane Wood, Merrick Garland and Elena Kagan.

Wood is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, nominated to that position by former president Bill Clinton. The Seventh Circuit has jurisdiction over the federal district courts in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Much has been made over Wood as a possible nominee, both for her links to the University of Chicago Law School, where she is a Senior Lecturer, and her ability to mediate between judges of varying political persuasions.[2]

Garland is also a federal appellate judge, serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was also appointed by former president Clinton. His legal career has been spent in the Washington D.C. area, however, he did graduate from Harvard Law School. Garland appears an attractive nominee because his history as a judge raises no immediate red flags. It's been said that he "would be the easiest of the four to confirm by far."[3]

Kagan is the United States Solicitor General, meaning that she argues cases as the federal government's lawyer in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by Obama right after he took office. Though she's never served as a judge, Kagan was the first female dean of Harvard Law School and was also a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. Kagan may be a difficult sell to the conservatives of the Senate since during her time at Harvard, she restricted the ability of the military to recruit on campus.[4]

While these three individuals are the focus of much media coverage, one never knows just who the President is considering. Other possibilities are: Ann Williams; Leah Ward Sears; Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School; Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan; and Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.[5]