Who Will Replace Justice Scalia? A List of Lists

It took approximately 30 minutes after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was confirmed for everyone to start rolling out their list of likely replacements. (Let’s set aside, for now, the fact that prior to any actual person being nominated, there are already GOP vows to block, well, anyone.) The pool of people in the “credible rumor” list is relatively small, so a lot of these lists have a lot of the same names. I’m unable to find any list that doesn’t have Sri Srinivasan, currently a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and formerly a clerk for retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, near the very top of the list. And with good reason – he was confirmed to the appellate court 97-0 three years ago, he is a moderate, and he was already described as Obama’s Supreme Court nominee-in-waiting back in 2013.

The New York Post has Srinivasan and four other current federal appellate judges on their list, because we all know that pulling from the Circuit Courts of Appeal is the most likely choice here.

USA Today floats Srinivasan  and some appellate judges as well, but throws in a couple senators (Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse).

Unsurprisingly, SCOTUSblog has the most in-depth discussion of how things might play out. They put current Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the top of the list.

PBS NewsHour has Joe Biden on their list, which seems a little like a fantasy baseball pick, but hey, stranger things have happened.

The New York Times has a list of likely picks and long shots. Cory Booker is on there, and I’m going to assume he is the latter.

Vox has the usual compliment of current judges and senators, but then they offer a pick if you’re playing 11-dimensional chess: Pam Karlan. Karlan is an openly bisexual law professor who clerked for Harry Blackmun and loathes the death penalty. Vox’s theory is that Obama could nominate someone “great but doomed” so that he doesn’t blow it for a confirmable nominee under a President Clinton or Sanders.

Above the Law lays out the odds, from 7500-1 for Hillary Clinton to the inevitable Sri Srinivasan  coming in at 5-2.

Over at the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy, David Post declines to offer a list, instead suggesting that Obama make a recess appointment of either Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, or Justice O’Connor. Then, Post suggests, both the GOP and the Democrats would commit to support “the prompt confirmation of any qualified candidate put forward by the next President, and Presidents thereafter.” Would that we could all agree on what “qualified” means.

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  • Paul Spitz

    If Donald Trump is elected and gets to pick, I hear he’s going to nominate Judith Sheindlin….a/k/a Judge Judy

  • Learned Handjob

    Obama will not be replacing Scalia.