A New SCOTUS Possibility: Carlos Moreno, 60

Carlos Moreno, a California State Supreme Court Justice, has emerged as one of several leading candidates to replace retiring Justice David Souter, an administration official and a Democratic lawyer with ties with the White House said.

Just a few weeks after he was elected, Obama asked a select group of close advisers to compile dossiers on several potential nominees. One of them was Carlos Moreno. Another was Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd circuit.

The administration official would not say Moreno is on an official short list and would not provide other details.

Moreno, 60, is well pedigreed, with degrees from Yale and Stanford. He began his career as a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles, andas his official California Supreme Court bio puts it, "handl[ed] politically sensitive and legislative matters" in that role.

He was nominated as a federal judge by President Bill Clinton, served as president of Mexican-American bar association, and was nominated to the California Supreme Court by Gray Davis in 2001. The empathy factor? He's a foster parent.

Political drawbacks: he voted in favor of same-sex marriage when it came before the court in 2008, and he's a bit older than the other leading candidates.

Moreno is a favorite of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who recommended him to the White House.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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