Three more names among the ten considered to be on the “short list” to replace Associate Justice Stevens have appeared:
1) Elizabeth Warren – TARP overseer, Harvard Law bankruptcy expert, and self-appointed spokeswoman for “the middle class,” Warren has support among liberals like Arianna Huffington. Here is Huffington advocating for Warren on The Week yesterday:
And here is Warren appearing on The Daily Show last year to discuss TARP.
2) Sidney Thomas – a Clinton-appointed Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Montana, most notable for his opinion in Nadarajah v. Gonzalez, a Habeus case in which Thomas ordered the release of a Sri Lankan asylum-seeker who had been imprisoned for five years on immigration charges.
3) Martha Minow – Harvard Law dean whose bio describes her as “An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities.” Minow’s paper trail on these and other topics — including a number of books and scores of articles — is extensive. Minow taught Obama at Harvard law and was a consultant on his presidential campaign.
Thomas and Minow strike me as long-shots at best. Minow not least because she has made a career applying identity politics to the law, and because her close personal relationship with the president could make her look like an uptown Harriet Miers. Thomas is simply unremarkable — but unremarkable in Montana, as opposed to someone like Merrick Garland, who has been unremarkable under the bright lights of the D.C. circuit.
One interesting little footnote here. The Supreme Court is dominated by Harvard Law grads (and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who transferred from Harvard to Columbia Law) with a couple of Yaleys thrown in. But quite a few names on the Obama short list are from outside that mold: Sears went to Emory; Warren went to Rutgers; Thomas went to the University of Montana; Janet Napolitano went to UVA Law; Diane Wood went to U-Texas.
Still, front-runners Merrick Garland and Elena Kagan are both Harvard Law grads.