POLITICS
05/31/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's Supreme Court Pick

In the wake of reports of Supreme Court Justice David Souter's planned resignation, all eyes turn to President Obama.

According to NPR's Nina Totenberg, Obama intends to pick a woman:

Souter's retirement would give President Obama his first appointment to the high court, and most observers expect that he will appoint a woman.

Last November, Salon examined ten candidates for Obama's Supreme Court:

Barack Obama might have as much power to shape a new court as Reagan. Like Reagan, Obama could appoint as many as three justices before Inauguration Day 2013. John Paul Stevens, 88, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, are of retirement age, and Ginsburg is a colon cancer survivor. David Souter, 69, has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to his home in New Hampshire. (Kennedy, who has twice had minor heart procedures, is 72, as is Scalia.)

So will an Obama presidency usher in a new liberal era on the court? The short answer: probably not (and not just because the president-elect's apparent choice for attorney general, Eric Holder, is one more sign that he does not fear the taint of Clintonism). Since the justices most likely to retire are from the court's liberal wing, Obama will have less of an opportunity to tilt the court's ideological orientation. Currently, the court has a rough balance of power, with four conservative justices, four liberal and a swing vote in Justice Kennedy.

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