- Diane Wood—7th Circuit
- Merrick Garland—DC Circuit Court of Appeals
- Sonia Sotomayor—2nd Circuit
- Elena Kagan—Solicitor General
- Jennifer Granholm—Michigan Governor
- Janet Napolitano—Homeland Security Secretary
Despite the hype of a thorough vetting process, there’s no need to read the tea leaves to find out the most likely propspect. Cross out three names right off the bat. Kagan and Napolitano are already Administration big wigs, so no new scandal there. They won’t have any back taxes due. And Merrick Garland’s out from the get-go because of his name. While being the only male on the list might give him an edge, he’s obviously missing something the other candidates have in common.
Wood seems to be a person of character. Independent-minded, she’s willing and able to stand up for what she believes, even when her opinion is not popular. Those are characteristics I value in a Supreme Court Justice. They’re probably also disqualifying once she hits the Senate confirmation meatgrinder.
But I couldn’t find anything on Google about Wood owing back taxes. Same for Sonia Sotomayer, who was maligned by The New Republic‘s Jeffrey Rosen. The blogosphere if full of posts about Sotomayer being qualified. There are a lot of opinions both for and against Wood and Sotomayer based on their rulings, opinions, and perceived positions.
Everything considered, however, only one name on the short list is likely to be a serious contender. Even though she has zero time on the bench and her only court-related experience is as Attorney General, Michigan’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm has one thing over all the other candidates. Granholm has tax problems! Fits right in with the deficit reduction plan.