Dozens of names have surfaced as potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who is retiring at the end of this year's term. The money is on President Obama selecting a woman, something Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court's lone female justice, has said is much needed.
In its roundup of 20 potential candidates, Slate leans toward women, including a dark horse from Illinois: Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Slate calls Madigan "a rising star in Illinois politics" and notes that she shares a background in community organizing with Obama.
Consider this for Madigan's column: She successfully argued a case before the Supreme Court, the first attorney general to personally do so in 25 years--while seven months pregnant. The case, Illinois v. Caballes, gave police the authority to use drug-sniffing dogs on the outside of a stopped vehicle without a warrant or reason to suspect possession.
As Law.com notes, Madigan has other serious law-and-order bona fides, such as advocating for stricter supervision and registration of sex offenders, stronger methamphetamine laws, and scrutiny of the state's gaming industry. Prior to joining the state senate, Madigan specialized in employment law at a Chicago firm and as attorney general filed an amicus brief in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy in Grutter v. Bollinger. She also challenged former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's commutation of 32 death row inmates on legal grounds--and lost--and recently came under fire for not aggressively investigating 25 cases relating to a Chicago police commander accused of torture.
The odds are slim for Madigan, who is weighing a run for governor in 2010, but it's not nearly as unlikely as Sen. Dick Durbin's suggestion that Obama consider first term Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.